§ The House having again resolved itself into a Committee to inquire into the Conduct of the Sheriff of Dublin, sir Robert Heron in the Chair,
§ Major Henry Charles Sirr was called in; and examined
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation?—A magistrate in the head police office in Dublin.
§ Do you recollect the 14th Dec. last, when there was a riot at the theatre?—I do.
§ Was the state of public feeling in Dublin, at that time much agitated?—On that night it was, and previous to that it was.
§ Do you recollect any of the causes which led to that irritation?—I believe, the prevention of the dressing of king William was one.
§ Do you imagine that that irritation was much increased by the committal of some of the persons supposed to be concerned in that riot, under a capital charge?—Undoubtedly.
§ You are one of the magistrates that committed one of those persons under the capital charge?—I am.
§ Can you state the circumstances under which you made that committal?—Under the directions of the attorney-general, the solicitor-general, and Mr. Townsend.
§ Had you, at the time you made that committal, informations before you, to convince you that it was a capital crime that he was charged with?—There were a variety of informations taken on the subject; I was not aware at the time that it was a capital charge, until I was desired to make out the committal.
§ You are understood that you made that committal in pursuance of directions from the law officers of the Crown, without having informations before you, convincing you that they authorized a committal for a capital crime?—I did not know the extent of the offence until I was desired to make out that committal, from the variety of informations which were taken in the head police office, and having been laid before the law officers it was necessary to get their opinion upon it before the committal was finally made out.
§ Are you to be understood, that you saw all the informations which were taken upon the subject, previous to your having committed the person?—I saw several of them; I do not believe I saw all.
§ Where were the witnesses chiefly examined?—Some at the head office of police, and some in the under secretary's office at the castle.
§ After the witnesses were sworn, was not the magistrate directed to leave the room?—Sometimes he was, sometimes not.
§ Were the informations which were taken during the absence of the magistrate, afterwards laid before the magistrate for his perusal?—Several of the witnesses examined at the castle were afterwards re-examined in the office and their informations taken.
§ Was that after they were committed on the capital crime?—I believe not.469
§ After Forbes was committed?—We had taken informations prior to his committal.
§ Were the persons bound over to prosecute previous to his committal?—I believe they were.
§ By you?—By me, whenever I took the informations, certainly; three magistrates are in the office; it will sometimes fall to the lot of one, sometimes of another, to take the informations.
§ From your own judging of those informations which you saw, you conceived Forbes had made himself liable to be committed for a capital offence?—I conceive, from the high authority from whom I received the directions to make out the committal, that there was sufficient.
§ If you had not received those directions from high authority, would you have committed Forbes for a capital offence?—I believe not.
§ By Mr. Jones.—Were you brought up as a lawyer?—No.
§ What had been your private education?—Military.
§ Were you then acquainted with what would amount to an act of high treason or a capital offence of that description?—In some instances I might be.
§ In the present instance were you in doubt?—In the present instance I should not have thought there was any thing of high treason in it.
§ Should you have thought there was sufficient to amount to a capital offence, or had you doubts upon that subject?—I had doubts, certainly.
§ In consequence of those doubts, did you submit it to the law officers of the Crown?—I was guided by them.
§ In consequence of the doubts you entertained as to the offence amounting to a capital charge or not, did you take the opinion of the law officers of the Crown?—No, it was not in consequence of that.
§ In consequence of what was it then that you took the opinion of the law officers of the Crown?—It was in consequence of what was done, certainly, that I received the orders of the law officers of the Crown.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—Did you apply to the law officers of the Crown for their opinion upon this matter?—No.
§ What are the committee to understand by your saying, that you received the directions of the law officers of the Crown?—It was considered as a Crown prosecution, and immediately under the direction of the officers of the Crown; and as magistrates, we receive their instructions, from time to time, on the informations that were taken.
§ You are understood to say, that this was a criminal case, in which the Crown was one party: are you in the practice in such cases, of acting by the instructions of that party?—Certainly.
§ In your capacity of a magistrate?—Certainly.
§ As a justice of the peace?—Yes, as a justice the peace.470
§ How long have you been a justice of the peace?—As a police magistrate, nearly fifteen years.
§ Before that period, in what capacity did you serve?—I was likewise a magistrate.
§ For how many years before those fifteen years?—About nine years.
§ During the whole of that period, has it been your practice in your official situation as a magistrate, to act according to the directions of the Crown?—No.
§ Since when did you commence this practice?—It is the practice in Crown prosecutions.
§ Has it been your practice, during the whole of those 24 years, in cases where the Crown is the party prosecuting, to take the instructions of the officers of the Crown?—No doubt.
§ Do you mean, that you never exercise a discretion yourself, or that in all cases, whatever your opinion might be, you have held yourself bound by the instruction of the Crown lawyers?—There are some cases that I should suppose do not require their advice.
§ Suppose they have given you instructions, and that your opinion was different, has it been your practice to follow your own judgment, or the instructions of those officers?—Whenever it was my duty to resort to them, I always considered from such high legal authority, that I was correct in attending to their advice in preference to my own.
§ What do you mean by the term resorting; did you go to them yourself personally?—Undoubtedly.
§ Did you state the case, and receive their instructions?—Certainly.
§ Was this ever in writing, or by verbal communications?—Verbal communications, or through the solicitor of the Crown.
§ Are you to be understood, that whenever it becomes necessary to resort for instructions to the Crown lawyers, you go to the solicitor for the Crown?—Occasionally, as it may be necessary.
§ Did you ever go directly to the Crown lawyers, without going to the solicitor?—It might so happen.
§ What do you mean by those cases in which you deem it necessary to have recourse to their instructions?—Only in cases of state affairs.
§ Is that your rule in all political prosecutions?—There may be some minor offences that it would not be necessary to do so.
§ Suppose a man were arrested on a charge of sedition?—Certainly, I should apply for instructions; I would take the informations without hesitation.
§ Should you in that case proceed according to their instructions, in preference to your own judgment?—It would be their duty to proceed; it would be my duty to take the informations, and act as a magistrate.
§ What do you mean then by acting by the directions of the Crown solicitor?—Of course the Crown lawyers must be consulted upon it in cases of treason.
§ Would you in any cases of importance?—Not in regard to committal always; I would take it from the body of the information; I should not hesitate in committing, on my own judgment, where a case was so strong that there could be no doubt upon it.
§ On what cases is it that you describe yourself as being used to follow the instructions of the Crown lawyers?—In such a case as the present I acted immediately under their advice.
§ In cases where you follow the instructions of the Crown lawyers, what is it you do according to their instructions?—I act according to the instructions I receive.
§ What do you call acting according to the instructions you receive; do you mean to say I you ever follow their instructions upon the: question whether you should commit or not?—I should not hesitate in the committal. Nor whether I should take an information or not.
§ On what questions is it you have taken their instructions?—I conceive have done my duty when I have taken the necessary informations and committed.
§ You commit according to your own judgment, and you take the information according; to your own judgment?—No doubt.
§ In what respect is it you follow the instructions of the Crown lawyers?—I do no more than that, it is for them to proceed.
§ What do you mean by following the instructions of the Crown lawyers?—As to the extent, if the information goes against several individuals, as to the extent of arrest, perhaps, how far each may be involved; some may be more deep than others, and it may not be wise in: some instances to arrest, perhaps.
§ If you have taken the information against the whole number, and made out the warrant of commitment against the whole; what further question remains for you?—If they are in; custody, it is a different matter.
§ If they are in custody, how do you then follow the instructions of the Crown lawyers?—I would commit certainly; it will be for them to prosecute the entire, or not.
§ Suppose a question were to arise, whether you should hold a person to bail, or to commit him to custody; should you follow the instructions of the Crown lawyers?—Certainly.
§ Supposing a question should arise, as to the amount of bail to be taken; should you follow I their instructions?—I should think it right so; to do, in political offences.
§ Suppose the question were to arise, whether a man should be committed or not for an alleged seditious expression; would you take the instructions of the law officers of the Crown I upon that?—I would take the advice of the assistant barrister in the office, upon that occasion.
§ By the assistant barrister is understood one of the three magistrates, of whom you are one?—Yes.472
§ Suppose the question were to arise, whether this is a treasonable offence or not, and you had doubts in your own mind; would you also take the advice of the assistanvbarrister?—Certainly.
§ Suppose the question to arise, whether it was a misdemeanor or a treasonable offence; would you, in that case, take the assistant barrister's advice?—Certainly.
§ Suppose the question to arise, what amount of bail you should hold them to; would yon, in that case, take the assistant barrister's advice?—I should certainly take the advice of my brother magistrates, in that case.
§ Suppose you, among yourselves, have no doubt, should you act without going further for advice?—If we had no doubts on our minds, we would act.
§ Do you mean to say it is only incases where you and your brother magistrates differ, or where you doubt, that you go to the law officers of the Crown?—Either that, or to counsel.
§ Do you mean to say, you ever go to other counsel as well as to the law officers of the Crown?—We do.
§ You are not to be understood, that you take instructions from the law officers of the Crown only in those arduous cases to which you have alluded, but from lawyers indiscriminately?—Certainly.
§ Has this been your practice during the whole of the fifteen years?—It has.
§ Did you ever, during those fifteen years, take the advice of a lawyer, for a prisoner?—No, I do not know that I did.
§ But very often of the Crown lawyers, you say?—We have occasionally of the Crown lawyers.
§ What other lawyers, besides the Crown lawyers, have you ever consulted during those times?—There are banisters appointed as assistant barristers to the police establishment.
§ Are those for the prosecutors?—For police prosecutions.
§ Are those barristers counsel for the prosecution always?—Where it becomes necessary to employ counsel for the police, they are called in.
§ That is where you, the police, prosecute yourselves?—Where we prosecute ourselves.
§ Have you ever consulted them on any of the arduous cases of a political nature to which you have referred?—I believe we have.
§ Suppose information were laid, that an individual had used a seditious expression, drank a disloyal toast, for instance; how would you proceed in that case, after taking the information?—It might be a case to make the party find security only to keep the peace it might not amount to a treasonable act.
§ Should you, in a case of that sort, consult the Crown lawyers?—We might make a report upon it to the government.
§ Suppose the Crown lawyers were to desire you to commit the person for a political offence; would you commit him, although in 473 your own judgment, he ought not to stand committed?—If there was proof, that a man had committed such an offence, I think we would be justified in committing him.
§ But suppose your opinion was, that he ought not to be committed, and the Crown lawyers directed you to commit him, would you commit him, or not?—If they desired me to commit him, I think it is very likely I would, if he was to be tried for the offence; but I would think such an offence as that would be bailable, and I would be bound to take bail.
§ If you felt you were bound to take bail, and the Crown lawyers directed you not to take bail, which should you do?—I think I should be bound to take bail in a bailable offence.
§ Suppose any political character of note were denounced to you, by an information, as having been guilty of an act of sedition, should you, in that case, go to the Crown lawyers as a matter of course?—No, not as a matter of course.
§ However high the political character was, against whom the information was brought?—No, I should think it was most likely I should make it known to the government of the country.
§ Supposing the government were to direct you to commit that person, should you follow their directions as a matter of course, without exercising your own judgment?—I should certainly follow the direction of the government of the country, and I would use my own discretion, as far as I was capable of judging for the best.
§ Supposing your own discretion led you to say, that he ought not to be committed, but for the directions of government, would you feel yourself still bound, by the positive direction of government?—If it was not a bailable offence, I should certainly commit.
§ Suppose, upon the evidence laid before you, you considered he ought not to be committed for this state offence; and suppose the government directed you to commit him, not-withstanding your own opinion of the offence not being a bailable offence, what should you do?—I think if the government ordered me to do it, I would do it.
§ Have you ever been directed by government, in cases of state offence bailable, to take a great amount of bail, and done so?—I believe, I have.
§ Do you upon the question of the amount of bail, consider yourself bound in the same way by the directions of government in state offences?—In state offences, certainly.
§ By Mr. Peel.—When anything extraordinary comes under your notice, as a magistrate, do you cot feel it your duty to make a report upon it to the government?—No doubt.
§ Are you not required to do so by the act which constitutes you police-officers?—Certainly.
§ Are there not some cases in which you cannot act, without consulting the attorney-general?—There are.474
§ Do you recollect some cases of admitting of approvers in cases of high treason?—I cannot do that without his approbation.
§ Should not you be subject to a penalty of 100l.?—Yes.
§ Do you recollect any instance in which, being of opinion yourself, that a moderate sum should be taken, by way of bail, the government required you to take a larger amount of bail?—No, never.
§ Or their directions as to the amount of bail?—No, certainly not.
§ By Mr. G. Lamb.—In the case of the riot at the theatre, had you any doubt in your mind before you received the directions of the law-officers of the Crown?—I could not form an opinion without I saw the entire informations on the subject, which I did not see, certainly several of the informations were taken in another office, and I believe the principal informations.
§ You did not make up your mind at all, as to what offence you meant to commit for?—No.
§ Did you ask the law-officers of the Crown for their opinion?—I waited upon them for their opinion and received their orders upon the subject.
§ By Mr. Bright.—Did the attorney or solicitor general, or any person connected with government send for you, or did you go there of your own accord?—I have gone there of my own accord, and I have been sent for.
§ On that business?—Yes.
§ Were you sent for on the first occasion, or did you go of your own accord?—I cannot tell.
§ Did the first communication upon this business come from you, or from the Crown officers?—I think it is more likely that it came from myself, or from the office.
§ State what passed at that first interview?—I generally showed the informations that I took to the Crown-officers.
§ Had you taken any informations at that time?—I am sure I had.
§ Did you show them to the attorney and solicitor-general?—Undoubtedly.
§ Was there a conversation at that time between you and the solicitor and attorney-general?—There must have been something said, but I cannot recollect what it was; it must have been upon the examinations, but there were so many taken that really and truly I cannot recollect it.
§ Did you receive any instructions at the time with respect to the examinations?—I do not recollect that I did.
§ Did you receive any instructions at the time with respect to the committals?—No.
§ When did you see the officers of the Crown again?—I saw them very frequently.
§ When did you receive directions from them?—On the committal of the parties.
§ Of what parties?—Of Forbes, Graham and Brownlow.
§ Was anything said about bail?—Nothing.
§ By Mr. S. Wortley.—Did you, in consequence of those instructions, commit those gentlemen for the treason?—Not for the treason.
§ For a capital offence?—I did.
§ Had you at that time read over all the informations?—Not the entire of them.
§ Had you signed any depositions or informations?—I had.
§ Had you signed any depositions or informations that you had not read?—No, never.
§ Did you hear the depositions given by the witnesses?—I did certainly.
§ Did you sign any deposition that you did not hear given by the witnesses?—The depositions that I took must have been read to the witness, or he must have sworn that he read them.
§ Do you recollect having seen any deposition which was not sworn to by the witness in your presence?—Oh! certainly not; he must have been sworn to them, before I signed them; I could not be guilty of such an act.
§ Do you distinctly recollect, that you did sign no deposition to which you had not seen the witness swear?—Certainly I do not.
§ In point of fact, for what offence were those persons committed?—Forbes was committed for a conspiracy to murder.
§ Upon the informations themselves, were you, in your judgment, satisfied, that there was sufficient evidence to commit him upon that charge?—Not as to a conspiracy to murder; I was not capable of judging, for I had not seen all the informations.
§ Upon the informations before you, was there sufficient to induce you to commit them for a conspiracy to murder?—Not upon those that were taken before me.
§ How did you proceed, previous to signing the committal?—I heard a great number of persons examined upon oath.
§ Upon the whole examination before you, were you satisfied there was sufficient to induce you to commit them for a conspiracy to murder?—In my own mind I certainly should not, if it was left to myself, have committed for such an offence.
§ For what offence would you, in your own judgment, have committed?—For a conspiracy to riot, and a riot.
§ Then how came you, thinking in your own judgment there was not sufficient to commit for a conspiracy to murder, to commit for that offence?—I had the legal instructions of the law officers of the Crown; I concluded, from the importance of the informations they had before them, that it amounted to that.
§ In point of fact, you committed for a conspiracy to murder, on the instructions of the law officers of the Crown, and not from your own judgment on the informations laid before you?—Certainly.
§ By Mr. Bright.—Did you act at that time as a justice of the peace?—Certainly.476
§ Is it your habit, in Crown cases, to commit without hearing the whole of the informations?—One information may justify a committal.
§ Supposing that one information should not justify a committal, would you commit without hearing the whole of the informations?—Certainly not.
§ In this case, did you hear the whole of the informations?—They were not all taken before me, or in the office.
§ How came you then in this case to commit, without hearing the whole of the informations?—I did not think it was necessary.
§ You did not consider that it was a case of a capital offence?—I must have considered it so, when the attorney-general considered it so, his opinion was superior to mine.
§ But not in your own judgment?—I should not have thought it so, until I heard the attorney-general declare it.
§ How was it you did not hear the whole of the informations read to you, prior to your committing for the capital offence?—There were several informations taken at another office that I did not see, I saw copies of them certainly.
§ Did you see the copies of the whole of the informations?—I will not pretend to say that I saw them all, for they were very numerous.
§ Do you not consider it your duty as a police magistrate, to see the whole of the informations?—Probably it would be better if I did.
§ Has it been your habit prior to this, to see the whole of the informations previous to committing for a grave offence?—Certainly, all informations taken at my own office, at the head office, where the committal is issued from, certainly.
§ Then this is the only instance to your recollection, that you have committed for a grave offence, without seeing the whole of the informations?—I do recollect, and I do believe, that I read the informations, on better recollection.
§ Did you read the whole of the informations?—Yes, it is so distant I cannot speak positively, but I am inclined to think that I read them.
§ Then you correct the prior testimony you have given?—It is so far back I cannot say; and I do assure the committee, I must hope for excuse, I have not been very well and my memory is not so perfect as it used to be, after a very serious fit of sickness, and I should plead that excuse.
§ By Sir J. Newport.—Was there anything that distinguished the communication upon the present occasion, from the communication that you had at former times, during the time of your magistracy?—No, I think not.
§ By Mr. Brownlow.—Did you propose to the law officers of the Crown, to take bail for Mr. Forbes, instead of committing him to gaol for the play-house riot?—No, I do not think I did, I do not recollect any such circumstance.
§ Joseph Gabbett, esq. called in; and examined
§ Was there a good deal of irritation of the public mind, previous to the riot at the theatre on the 14th December?—A great deal, of which I was personally a witness.
§ Will you mention the nature of those facts to which you were personally a witness?—There were several attempts made, to dress the statue; there was a deal of excitement of the public feeling produced by the presence of the police, for the purpose of preventing the dressing of the statue; that collected of course crowds, and excited a great deal of feeling in the public, on the one side of the Orange party, who were anxious to maintain the point of dressing the statue in opposition to the lord mayor's proclamation, and the order of the government; and on the other hand, irritation in the minds of those who pursued that measure, and crowds collected by day and by night round the statue.
§ Do you recollect any persons having been wounded by the military round the statue?—I do.
§ Was there any civil power present, when the military rushed out upon them?—Not at the commencement of the business.
§ There were two wounded by the military, were there not?—There was a man that came before meat my office on the following morning; it did appear, that one or two persons, I think two persons, were wounded by the bank guard upon that occasion. It appeared, that a number of persons had come to the statue in the course of that night, and that some of them had actually mounted the statue and thrown a cloak round it; the bank guard came out upon the occasion, and endeavoured to disperse them; it appeared, that those persons were in liquor, and they gave some opposition to the military, and made use of some insulting expressions to the military; and it so happened, unfortunately, that one or two persons were on that occasion wounded by the bayonets of the military; on the alarm being communicated at the office to which I belong, one of our police officers went down; I believe one of those persons had been wounded before he went down; I made a report of it, and I believe there was an investigation upon it at the barracks.
§ Were you present at the inquiry which after-wards took place?—I was.
§ What appeared upon the subject of the orders to the military, as to their acting?—Upon the investigation which took place at the barracks, at which I attended, it appeared that there had been some orders; there were two orders for the direction of the officers of the guard, and the order was issued from the governors of the bank, and that confined the attention of the guard to the defence of the bank.; but there was another, order under I which they appeared immediately to have acted, which charged the bank guard with the protection of the statue from being disfigured; 478 I saw the officer of the guard, I requested his attendance at my office that morning, and he stated that as his justification, stating that the one order appeared to disagree with the other, and I felt it my duty in reporting to the government, to call their attention to the circumstance of those orders being inconsistent the one with the other.
§ Do you know whether they were written orders, or verbal orders?—They were orders of long standing; the officers upon that inquiry were not able to traee the origin of that second order to which I allude, the order giving the protection of the statue in charge of the military.
§ Do you know whether it was written or printed?—I do not recollect that I saw it, but it was an order of some long standing; I was present when sir Colquhan Grant, through whom these orders were to pass, said he knew nothing of it. The officers on that court of inquiry disclaimed having any knowledge of it until it became a subject of inquiry.
§ Sir Colquhan Grant is commanding officer of the garrison?—It was through him the order should have passed, if it had been a recent order; I do not exactly know his department.
§ What did you understand by an order of long date?—The officers who attended upon that court of inquiry, stated to me that they had referred to the orderly-book, and were unable to trace it, and I heard sir Colquhan Grant disclaim having any knowlege of any such order.
§ Then in fact there was no record of the order shown to you at all?—The officer of the guard stated to me that there was such an order; he stated that to me the following morning, and that there was an inconsistency between that order and the other order for the government of the bank guard, and I reported it at the head office, and through them to the government.
§ Was there, in point of fact, any specific order ever shown to you upon the subject?—According to my recollection, it was read to me upon that occasion by the court of inquiry, and I have no doubt there was such an order, both from the report of the officer of the guard, and the officers on the court of inquiry.
§ You cannot form any opinion as to the date of that order?—No; if there had been a date to it, there would have been no difficulty in tracing it to its origin.
§ Did you attend the court of inquiry?—I was called upon as a magistrate, and attended there, while the officers of my office were under examination.
§ Were there any informations produced before you from the persons who were wounded?—No, the person who was wounded went to the head office that morning, and I understood he swore informations there; it came before me. A gentleman who had actually mounted the statue was brought to my office as a prisoner, and I discharged that gentleman on taking bail for his appearance.479
§ Did you not commit some persons on a capital charge, in reference to the riot at the theatre?—I committed Henry Handwich and Graham.
§ On a charge of conspiring to kill the lord-lieutenant?—I did.
§ State the grounds of that committal?—I had previously taken informations in my office against those two persons, the one for throwing the rattle, and the other for throwing the bottle; I had committed them upon those informations. There was an application made to me for bailing those prisoners, and upon that occasion, feeling it be to a very serious case, I thought it my duty to confer with the officers of the Crown upon the occasion. I spoke to the attorney and solicitor-general upon the subject, and it was their opinion that I should not, in that state of the business, bail the persons, but that all the informations taken and to be taken, should be sent to them for their consideration; and they would, after they had fully investigated the case, inform me what their opinion was upon the subject. There was an inquiry then at the castle, before the attorney and solicitor-general, and also at the head office, for the course of six days, at the end of which I was called upon to attend at the head office for the purpose of revising the capital committals. I did attend there, and assist in framing, in concert with Mr. Graves, the barrister magistrate of that office, those committals. They were revised by the officers of the Grown, the attorney and solicitor-general and Mr. Townsend, who conducts the prosecutions on the part of the Crown, and I did sign the capital committals against those two persons against whom I had taken those informations; but I should also state to the House, that independently of those informations which I took at my own office, I was present at the head office of police when a further information of a much stronger nature than those I had taken, was taken there before the magistrates of that office under those circumstances; those informations having disclosed facts, which I thought amounted to evidence, to go to the jury to sustain the capital charge, I thought it was my duty to follow the advice of those three learned counsel, in signing the capital committal; I signed the capital committal only against those against whom I had taken the information, the one for throwing the rattle, and the other for throwing the bottle.
§ Did you or not coincide with the law officers of the Crown in respect to the capital charge?—So far I did coincide, that I acted in pursuance of the suggestions communicated from them to me, through the magistrates of the head office.
§ Had you been left to your own discretion, would you have committed for the capital offence?—I certainly, if I had been left entirely to myself, should have required the whole of the informations to be laid before me, to exercise my judgment upon them; but I do think that if I was pressed by the prosecutor, in an ordi- 480 nary case, to submit the case for trial in that shape, there being evidence to go to the jury to sustain that charge, however I might as a magistrate discourage a rigorous prosecution, I should hold it to be my duty to sign a committal upon the capital charge.
§ Was there sufficient evidence came before you, in your opinion, to justify a committal for a capital offence?—I thought there was evidence to go to the jury with.
§ If you had been left to your judgment, would you have committed for the capital offence?—Upon the best consideration I have since given to the subject, I was warranted in the opinion, that the facts disclosed before me, amounted to a constructive levying of war against the king. I really felt that at the time, and stated that, without consulting with the counsel for the Crown, as my reason for refusing to admit the parties to bail.
§ Your opinion coincided with that of the law officers of the Crown?—As to the conspiracy to murder, I have not said so. If I was to recommend a prosecution in the most rigorous form, it would have been for a constructive levying of war, which amounts to high treason.
§ Are you to be understood, that your opinion did not coincide with that of the law officers of the Crown?—I really acted a good deal in faith on the law officers of the Crown. I had that reliance on their knowledge, their talent, and their integrity. They having come to that result, after six or seven days investigation, I thought that it furnished a very sufficient ground, coupled with the facts which were before me individually, for signing the committals. I really did not speculate on what was likely to be the event of the prosecution.
§ By Mr. Browne.—Do not you hold yourself personally responsible, as a magistrate, for your committals?—Of course, I am liable to the censure of the court of King's-bench, and of parliament, and I am liable to an action, if I misconduct myself.
§ Should not a magistrate make up his mind as to the committal?—I had made up my I mind, that there was evidence to go in support of a prosecution, if it should be the pleasure of the government to prosecute in that rigorous form.
§ Had you heard the whole of the depositions?—No, I had not. There were several witnesses examined on the ex-officio informations, that I had not been sworn before me.
§ Did you require to hear the whole of the depositions, prior to committal?—I did not.
§ That is not necessary?—No; I think it is I quite sufficient for any prosecutor to produce such witnesses before a magistrate as furnish matter to justify the committal; and I think it is in the discretion of the prosecutor, what number of witnesses he shall produce. There may be very good and sufficient reasons for prosecutors not producing all their witnesses in a public office.
§ Were there sufficient witnesses produced 481 before you to satisfy you as to that committal?—I do really think there were witnesses sufficient produced to justify the going to a jury for that offence.
§ By Sir J. Newport.—How long have you been in the office of magistrate?—Nearly seven years.
§ Was that subsequent to the publication Of the work called "Gabbett's Digest of the Law?—Yes.
§ You were placed in the situation you now hold, as a testimony of respect for the service you had rendered the public?—I was so in formed.
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—Do you recollect being with the police on any night in November, when there was an attempt made to dress the statue?—There were different attempts made on the nights of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th of November, I was up almost the whole of those nights; one night entirely; but on the sixth there was a very serious attempt made, in opposition to the police force to dress the statue.
§ Do you recollect any person being mounted on the statue that night?—There were three persons mounted on the statue; I was called at about two o'clock in the morning, and they were not able to remove them till about six.
§ Do you recollect who any of those persons were?—Henry Handwich was one of the persons.
§ Mr. Pascal Paoli Field called in; and examined
§ By Col. Barry.—What is your situation?—I hold a situation in the bank of Ireland.
§ Do you recollect being examined by any persons, as to the transactions that took place at the theatre on the 14th of December?—I do.
§ Where?—In a room in Dublin Castle.
§ Do you know who the persons were?—The attorney-general for Ireland examined me. There were other gentlemen present, whose names I do not immediately recollect; there was a Mr. Carmichael present.
§ Was any oath administered to you?—There was; major Sirr administered the oath.
§ After the oath was administered, what became of major Sirr?—He left the room.
§ And you were left in the room with the attorney-general, and some other gentlemen?—Yes.
§ Do you know who Mr. Carmichael is?—I believe he is either the solicitor or the clerk of the Crown.
§ Will you state what happened on your examination?—I was asked by the attorney-general, if I had been at the theatre on the night on which the row had been stated to have taken place; I said I was not. I was afterwards asked, if I had any thing to do with the circulation of tickets, or with subscribing to the purchase of tickets for the admission of persons for that purpose; I said I had not. I was asked if I had any thing to do with the throwing the bottle or rattle, of if I had coun- 482 tenanced such proceedings; I said I had not. Shall I state my observations? My feelings were indignant (excuse me) at the supposition, that I, who held his majesty's commission in an Irish regiment of militia; I was a subaltern officer. I felt, I say, indignant at the supposition, that I, who received the pay of his majesty, and drew my sword for the protection of his, British subjects, should be charged with an attempt to insult or injure his majesty, or his majesty's representative, or to infringe on a charge or request that his majesty, I was informed, had uttered to his people of Ireland on his departure.
§ Were your depositions taken down in writing?—I suppose they were—a Mr. Carmichael was writing at the time I was speaking.
§ Were you then dismissed for the time?—After other questions, I was.
§ Was there anything further particular passed?—Yes; I was asked, if I had heard any conversations upon the subject. I was confused, of course, at the moment, being sent for in a hurry, having no apprehension of anything of the kind; and I said, that I had heard many conversations, as any citizen or person in my walk in life might have heard. I was asked what the conversations I had heard were; I said I had heard various conversations. I was then asked whether I had heard any thing respecting the lord mayor of Dublin; I said I had heard conversations respecting him. What were they? that he had made himself unpopular; in what respect? In not allowing the statue of king William, in College Green, to be dressed according to the old custom of the country.
§ Were those depositions that were taken down ever afterwards shown to you, in order to be sworn?—They were not.
§ Were any depositions ever shown to you in the police-office, for you to swear to?—There were.
§ Did you swear to them?—I did not
§ Why did you not?—Because I did not conceive that they agreed, or bore the slightest resemblance to the original inquiry made of me.
§ You conceived them to differ essentially?—I did materially.
§ And you declined signing them?—I did.
§ Did you give that reason at that time?—Yes, to alderman Darley.
§ Do you know who was present when you were examined in the room at the castle?—I cannot take upon me to recollect the names, time has affected my memory sufficiently not to recollect; I was greatly confused at the moment.
§ By Mr. Goulburn.—Did you know Mr. Carmichael before?—Yes.
§ Did you know the attorney-general before?—I did.
§ Did you know the solicitor-general?—Mr. Joy, I did.
§ Was he present?—I think he was, I cannot say positively.483
§ Was Mr. Townsend present?—I am not positive. There were many present, but for me to say positively who they were, would be taking too much responsibility upon myself. What number were present?—There were four or five, or six or seven present, I cannot take upon me to say how many.
§ Do you recollect any body being present but alderman Darley, at the time you refused to swear to the depositions?—There was.
§ Who?—Mr. Pemberton.
§ Were you much confused at the time of this examination at the castle?—Yes, I was.
§ Did that have any effect upon the answers you gave?—No, I do not think it had any, for I paused sufficiently.
§ Did it, or not, affect the answers you gave?—I think it might, in some respect.
§ By Mr. Jones.—You have given a string of questions and answers; are you sure all those questions were put to you, and all those answers given?—I am.
§ And yet you cannot state the names of any person present, except the attorney-general and Mr. Carmichael?—I cannot speak to their names.
§ How many persons were there?—I suppose five or six.
§ What is the reason you cannot name others?—Because I had my face to the attorney-general.
§ How is it, that, though you cannot name the persons who were present, you have so distinct a recollection of what passed?—Because those questions agitated myself; because I felt hurt that such ideas should be harboured of me.
§ Did you make a memorandum immediately afterwards, of the questions put to you, and the answers you had given?—No, but I repeated immediately to Mr. Alderman Darley, and to Mr. Williams of the bank of Ireland, what had occurred.
§ Did you make any memorandum immediately afterwards, of the questions put to you, and your answers?—Afterwards, not immediately.
§ How soon afterwards?—Two or three months.
§ Have you got that memorandum with you?—I have not in my pocket.
§ You have it in town with you?—I have
§ You will take upon you to say, that the precise questions, or tantamount to those you have stated, were put to you, and the answers you have given were given by you?—Yes.
§ Can you bring that paper with you at a subsequent time?—I can.
§ Do you recollect the difference between the deposition read over to you, and your actual deposition?—It began, "the deponent saith, he knows no more about it than a man walking through the world."
§ Had you used those words?—Not those actual words; I had said what I did actually relates "that I knew no more of it than any citizen of the world in the walk of life I was in."484
§ There was no essential, difference?—No, not essential, perhaps.
§ What essential difference did you find between the deposition you had made, and the copy which was shown to you?—On looking at the head of the paper it was proposed to me to swear to, I saw so great an alteration, that I said, "Mr. Alderman, this differs so much from my deposition, that I cannot take upon me to sign my name to it."
§ Do you remember any other differences?—No; I just looked at the commencement, and seeing those words, I refused to go any further.
§ You had said, that "you knew no more than a citizen of the world in your walk of life;" and they had written it "that you knew no more than a man walking through the world?"—Walking through the world maybe a figurative expression, but I had not used the word.
§ Did you read the other part of the deposition?—I looked through the deposition, but cannot recollect it.
§ Did you find any essential difference in any other part?—To the best of my knowledge, I did.
§ There was a material difference?—Yes, to the best of my recollection.
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—Are the Other differences as important as the first, one you have mentioned; the first was, that you were represented to have said, that you knew no more of it than a man walking through the world, whereas you might have said, that you knew no more of it than a citizen of the world, in your walk of life?—Yes.
§ Were the other differences as essential as that?—Yes, I believe they were; but I cannot take upon me to say that they were, for I laid it down directly.
§ Mr. William Ribton Ward called in; and examined
§ By Colonel Barry.—What is your situation?—I am a solicitor and attorney residing in Bagot-street, Dublin.
§ Are you the confidential man of business of Mr. Sheriff Thorpe?—I am.
§ Do you recollect the sheriff receiving a letter, by direction of the attorney-general, respecting the impanelling of the juries?—I recollect the sheriff called upon me, and showed me a letter signed Thomas and William Kemmis, which stated, that it was written by direction of the attorney-general.
§ Do you recollect what passed between you and the sheriff upon that occasion?—I told the sheriff, that as I was unacquainted with; city business, I was incompetent to give him any advice upon the subject, but recommended him to consult with the sub-sheriff, and if they could not agree, to be advised by counsel; at the same time I stated, that were I in his situation, if it was my right to return the panel, I would stand by my right that I would return a fair and impartial panel; that he was an office appointed between the king 485 and the people, and bound to return a fair and impartial panel, and to do justice between both. He replied, that it was always his intention to return a fair and impartial jury.
§ Do you recollect the day on which the January commission grand jury ignored the bills of indictment, against the persons charged with the riot at the theatre?—I do.
§ Were you in the Town-Clerk's office on that day?—I was.
§ Was sheriff Thorpe in the office?—Not when I went in.
§ Did he go in afterwards, before you left it?—He did.
§ Did he leave the office before you left it?—He did a long time.
§ Were any other persons in the office at the time that sheriff Thorpe and you were together in the office?—There were several. There was a Mr. O'Reilly, a Mr. John Chagneau, a Mr. Francis Lodge, a Mr. William Hall.
§ Was there a Mr. M'Namara there?—I do not recollect to have seen Mr. M'Namara there.
§ Did sheriff Thorpe address you, or any other person in your hearing, saying there would be no bills found, and that he had managed it well?—I did not hear sheriff Thorpe make use of those expressions. He certainly made use of no such expressions at the time.
§ Was he near you during the whole time he was in the office?—I think he only came in and passed by me, and went out again.
§ You are positive he made use of no such words to you, or to any other person in your hearing?—I am positive of it.
§ Could he have made use of such words, and you not have heard them?—I think not. He passed near me in coming in, and passed by me in going back again.
§ For what object did he go into the office?—I think he left his sword there, but I have only an indistinct recollection of the fact.
§ He left nothing else there?—Not to my recollection.
§ Did he come in with his round hat on, or his dress hat as sheriff?—I rather think he had a cocked hat on.
§ Did he leave his cocked hat?—I think he did not.
§ Did he open his mouth, and say any thing?—He did.
§ What did he say?—He put his hand to his mouth and said, "Mum, is Milliken here?"
§ Did he make any other observation?—None but that.
§ What did you conceive him to mean by that?—I am rather inclined td think, I put a question to him, I think it was either "have the jury returned the bills," or "can you get me examined by the jury, for I do not wish to stay;" one of those questions I think I put, and he put his hand upon his mouth and said "mum, is Milliken here," or "Milliken mum," it is the oddity of the expression that made me recollect it.
§ Do you know whom he meant by Milliken?—The bookseller in Grafton-street.486
§ Was not Mr. Milliken the person who had charged the sheriff with making use of some improper expression in the theatre on the night of the riot?—I have heard so.
§ Mr. Thorpe denied the expressions in the paper, did not he?—Yes.
§ And Mr. Milliken made an affidavit?—Yes.
§ Then Mr. Sheriff Thorpe thought Mr. Milliken was a person it would not be safe to use an expression before, that he did not wish to be reported?—I think that he would.
§ You think, when he said, "mum, is Milliken here," he would not like to speak very freely, unless he knew whether there was art enemy present?—I did not take the words in that meaning, what was conveyed to my mind was, that he meant it as a cant or wit, it was a cant word used in Dublin after that affidavit, when a question was asked, "mum, is Milliken here."
§ Do you know where sheriff Thorpe came from?—I do not; but I suppose he came out of the court.
§ Did you suppose he had been with the grand jury?—No, I cannot suppose that, for the jury room was locked.
§ Why did you ask Mr. Sheriff Thorpe whether the bills would be soon returned?—I did not ask him any such question; I asked him whether the bills were returned.
§ You do not know where he came from?—No.
§ Had he any conversation at all about the bills?—No, not that I recollect; I do not think the sheriff said any thing but that I have stated. Are you quite sure the sheriff did not say anything about the grand jury, or about the bills?—I am perfectly satisfied he did not, in my hearing.
§ Could he have said anything without your hearing?—Indeed I think I might say positively, that he could not; for I must have heard it, if he said it.
§ Do you now say, be could not have used any expressions, with respect to the grand jury or the bills, without your hearing it?—Indeed I do say positively, that he could not have used any expressions with respect, to the grand jury or the bills, without my hearing them.
§ Will you take upon yourself to say, Mr. M'Namara was not in the office at the time?—Positively I will not.
§ Do you know Mr. O'Reilly?—Yes; We have been long concerned, on opposite sides, in an equity suit.
§ Had you any conversation in Mr. Henn's office, since Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. M'Namara were examined here?—I have.
§ Was Mr. Corcoran present at any conversation you had?—He was.
§ Did you make any observation to Mr. Henn, the master, relative to what was alleged, to have passed?—Yes, Mr. Bourchier wanted me to go into a reference on Mr. Hudson's' cause. I told him that I expected to be summoned to parliament, and could not go into a reference until I returned.487
§ Did you say anything with respect to the conversation that had passed in the office on the day of ignoring of the bills?—Yes; I said, in consequence of what I had seen in the paper, I expected to be summoned to parliament.
§ Did you say anything in respect of the expressions the sheriff had then used?—No;I gave some indication that what had been stated here was not truth.
§ Did you positively say, that the conversation had not passed?—I did.
§ Was Mr. Corcoran near you?—He was very near.
§ Mr. Plunkett here stated, that Mr. M'Namara and Mr. O'Reilly were desirous of being confronted with this witness.
§ [Mr. Dillon M'Namara was again called in, the evidence of Mr. Ward was read over in his presence.]
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—You have heard the evidence Mr. Ward has given with respect to the possibility of the sheriff having made use of the expressions upon the subject of the grand jury ignoring the bills, with reference to which you were examined here on a former day; did you, in the sheriff's office, on that day, hear him make use of any expression with respect to the bills being ignored, or the bills not being found?—I did.
§ State, as nearly as you recollect, what it was?—Mr. Sheriff Thorpe came into the office, and stated to some gentleman near the fire-place (who that gentleman was, I could not possibly have known, but from what I have heard from Mr. O'Reilly, he has refreshed my memory upon that subject, of the gentleman that he expressed it to), he told him there were no bills. Being asked whether the bills had come down; he said, no; but that he might make his mind perfectly easy upon the subject, or something to that effect.
§ Do you believe the gentleman to whom he expressed that, was Mr. Ward?—I believe it was. I saw Mr. Ward in the office that day.
§ Have you any doubt of the expressions being used?—None whatever.
§ You have stated, that he used some such expression as "have not I done it well?"—I have.
§ Are you quite positive that an expression of that kind was used by him?—I am.
§ How long do you suppose sheriff Thorpe was in the office, from the time he came in until he left it?—I should say from three to five minutes. I left it almost immediately, and went into the adjoining room; he might have remained a longer time.
§ Have you any means of knowing, that Mr. Ward was the person the sheriff addressed, except by since hearing?—No.
§ As you say you are not certain whether Mr. Ward was in the office at the time the sheriff made use of this language, what reason have you for supposing that Mr. Ward was the person that the sheriff had addressed more than any 488 other person?—Merely from what Mr. O'Reilly stated to me, that it was Mr. Ward he was speaking to.
§ Did Mr. O'Reilly say that to you, before either of you were examined here?—He did.
§ Do you know a person of the name of Hall, an attorney?—I know there is such a person; I have very little acquaintance with him.
§ Did you have any conversation with him upon this subject?—Never. No conversation on earth on this, and very little on any other subject.
§ Do you recollect the words, "mum, is Milliken here," by Mr. Sheriff Thorpe?—No, I do not.
§ Have you listened attentively to the evidence of Mr. Ward, as read by the short-hand writer?—I have.
§ Are you clear, that the evidence of Mr. Ward and your own, relate to the same occurrence?—I declare I cannot say, Mr. Ward may be quite correct in what he has stated; this conversation may have passed at another time when I was not there; I will not undertake to say that it is not correct.
§ You will not undertake to say that it relates to the same occurrence?—I cannot.
§ Was Mr. O'Reilly in the office the time the sheriff was there, and said that you have stated?—Yes.
§ Did you leave the office soon after?—Yes.
§ You were in the sheriff's office together, and travelled together?—Yes; it was not on that business I went there; I was in no way interested in the transaction at all.
§ For what purpose did you go there?—I went on a bill which was preferred against Mr. O'Meara, and I was to have been professionally concerned for a person prosecuted with him.
§ Mr. O'Reilly told you, positively, that the gentleman, to whom the sheriff addressed his conversation, was Mr. Ward?—He did.
§ Was there any other person present, except the person whom you consider as Mr. Ward?—There were six or eight persons in the office at the time.
§ Were you in the office till Mr. Sheriff Thorpe left it?—I rather think not.
§ Did Mr. Sheriff Thorpe pull off his sword or his hat?—I do not know.
§ Can you say he did not pull off his hat?—I cannot.
§ Mr. Terence O'Reilly was again called in, and examined as follows
§ By Mr. Plunkett.—You recollect having been in the office at the court-house on the day the bills were ignored?—I do.
§ Will you state whether you have a distinct recollection of any expressions used by sheriff Thorpe upon that occasion, and to whom?—Mr. Sheriff Thorpe came into the office of the clerk of the Crown, and stated that there would be no bills found; and had not he managed the business well, and he then changed his dress and went out.489
§ To whom did he address that conversation?—I conceive he addressed it to this gentleman (Mr. Ward).
§ Who spoke first, Mr. Sheriff Thorpe, or that gentleman?—I am disposed to think the sheriff spoke first; probably the sheriff asked him, "How do you do, Charley;" I know he addressed him by the name of Charley.
§ How long did you stay in the office?—I was there from an early hour in the morning until after the attorney-general quitted the court.
§ Did Mr. M'Namara quit the office before you?—We quitted the office together.
§ How long was the sheriff in the office?—Probably about fifteen or twenty minutes.
§ Did you and Mr. M'Namara remain in the office after Mr. Sheriff Thorpe had put on his great coat?—We did, near an hour.
§ Whereabouts did Mr. M'Namara stand while he put on his great coat?—I cannot be positive whether he stood at the same spot during the whole time; but at the time the words were used, I have a positive recollection that it was at the passage; there might be a bar across here, and he was standing just there.
§ Was the great coat put on there?—It was not a great coat, it was a surtout.
§ What did the sheriff do with his sword and hat?—As to his hat, I am not quite positive; but I think he put it in a place under the desk.
§ Mr. M'Namara must have been in the room during the whole time this was going on?—I think he was.
§ Did you see him go out?—He was going in and out from that into the court, across the passage, and into the interior office, belonging to die clerk of the Crown; which of the places he was in at the particular time I cannot say.
§ Were you near Mr. M'Namara at that time?—He was in the office, but I was as far from him as to that table.
§ Was he there during the time?—I am not quite positive; I think he was.
§ Did Mr. M'Namara ever mention to you the name of Ward, in respect of this matter?—Never.
§ Did you mention the name to him?—I did. He said there were some persons present, and he did not recollect who they were; I said, Mr. Ward was the person present, and I knew him.
§ How long was sheriff Thorpe in the office?—A short time; I think not more than twenty minutes at the time this conversation took place.
§ Whereabouts in the office was Mr. M'Namara during those twenty minutes?—To the best of my recollection he was standing in the passage, between part of the office which divides where the clerks sit and the other.
§ During the remainder of the twenty minutes during which sheriff Thorpe remained in the room, did you hear him say anything else?—He might, but I do not recollect it.
§ How was he occupied?—He came out from 490 some place, where he got this information, and went behind the counter, and took off his dress coat, in which he was assisted by this gentleman, and then went away.
§ How was he occupied during the interval that elapsed after using those expressions?—In conversation with this gentleman.
§ Did he put on his surtout coat immediately on making use of those expressions?—No, not for some time.
§ Then it is possible that he might have made use of the expression "mum Milliken," and you not have heard it?—He might to Mr. Ward; upon that occasion he might.
§ Mr. William Ribton Ward further examined
§ By Col. Barry—You have heard the evidence Mr. O'Reilly has given; after having heard that evidence, do you deny that conversation which he has stated?—I do, positively.
§ At what time of the day was it when you were in the office?—I think it was between two and three o'clock.
§ Mr. Terence O'Reilly further examined.
§ You have heard the evidence of Mr. Ward; he states that the sheriff did not remain in the office more than about three minutes, and you have stated that the period he continued in the office was twenty minutes?—I said from fifteen to twenty minutes; I cannot be accurate as to the time. I speak to my recollection of the fact.
§ Sir R. Shaw, bart. a member of the House; examined in his place
§ By Col. Barry.—Do you know Mr. Ward?—I am not personally acquainted with him.
§ Do you know his character?—Yes; I understand he is a very respectable man.
§ A man who bears a respectable character?—Very much so, I know a partnership he was in, as one of the partners, which is a very respectable house.
§ Sir A. B. King, bart. called in; and examined
§ By Sir J. Newport.—Had you at any time put into your possession, a panel intended for either of the juries to be returned in reference to the trial of the rioters, either the grand or the petit jury?—Never.
§ Do you know whether such a panel was put into the hands of Stoker your clerk?—I know nothing of the kind, nor do I believe it.
§ It is understood that you are grand master or deputy master of one of the Orange lodges?—I am a member of an Orange institution, and have been since 1797. I was deputy grand master of the Orangemen in Ireland, and I do feel proud, in this honourable House, to acknowledge that I was so, looking upon the Orangemen to be the saviours of the country.
§ You of course are well acquainted with all the rules of the institution?—I believe pretty generally so.
§ Are there any portions of scripture read to the Orangemen on their admission?—There are; and in order to put the House and this 491 committee into possession more particularly of the rules and orders of the sociey, I have brought with me one of the printed books, which I beg to hand in to the committee, for their further information; printed by myself. [The witness delivered in the book.]
§ Are there no portions of scripture read to the Orangemen upon their admission?—Nothing more than the handing them the book for their instruction, to know whether they subscribe to that, or wish to become a member.
§ Will you take upon yourself to say, that there are no portions of scripture read at the time of their admission?—Not further than I have stated before.
§ Are there any portions of scripture inserted in that book?—There are.
§ Do you recollect whether any portion of the book of Joshua is read to the Orangemen at the time of their admission?—That is part of the secrets of the Orange institution, which I cannot answer to; but I will say this, that there is nothing whatsoever in what the hon. member alludes to, in my opinion, that at all interferes with what is right. I mean to say, there is nothing that I know of. I really feel myself so puzzled, with respect to my feeling, as to developing and declaring anything that I am bound by an obligation to withhold, and a feeling of respect for this honourable committee, that I do trust I shall not be pressed to say that which might hereafter be considered as an evasion of my answer. I wish to give the fullest and fairest answer to any question that can be given to every inquiry; I have come here for the sole object of declaring every thing I know upon the subject; I wish to with hold nothing on earth.
§ Is the committee to understand, that you are under an obligation on oath, not to divulge what passes in those meetings?—To a certain I extent, I am under an obligation to hold secret the signs and words of the institution of the society. As I said before, there is every thing contained in this book, but the words and the signs that I am sworn to keep secret.
§ Is there not read to Orangemen, at the time of their admission, a verse of Joshua exhorting the Israelites to root out the Amalekites from the land, and exterminate them utterly?—No such thing that I recollect.
§ Is there anything read to the Orangemen respecting the Amalekites?—As I said before, that certainly goes to a part of my obligation.
§ Is there, or is there not, anything stated from the scripture to the Orangemen respecting the Amalekites?—Prior to their being sworn, certainly not.
§ At any time, either at their admission or afterwards?—As to what passes after they are sworn, I do conceive that I am not at liberty to divulge that. [The witness was directed to withdraw.]
put it to the committee, whether if a Freemason were at the bar 492 he ought to be compelled to declare the secrets of his society.
§ Sir J. Newport
would not press the question, if it were not material to show that portions of scripture were read, inculcating upon one set of men the fitness of rooting out another. [The witness was again called in.]
Is there, or is there not, anything stated from the scriptures to the Orangemen respecting the Amalekites?—My answer to that question is, that I conceive, being sworn to secresy, I cannot say anything further upon that subject. [The witness was directed to withdraw.]
§ Sir John Newport
then read an opinion of the lord-chief-justice of Ireland, that if the oath of secrecy formed part of the obligation of an Orangeman, his duty would be not to keep but to break it, as, under it, the ends of justice might be frustrated.
§ Sir G. Hill
objected to the inference which the right hon. baronet wished to draw from the opinion of the chief-justice.
§ Sir J. Newport
contended that the oath ought not to stand in the way of a judicial inquiry. The House had greater powers than a court of justice; and if the oath could not there be set up as an excuse for silence, it could not be so used here.
§ Sir G. Hill
said, that nothing had yet been stated by the witness to warrant the conclusion that the text referred to was part of the ceremony of making an Orange-man.
Mr. D. Browne
thought the disclosure might be very dangerous to Ireland. He really thought the committee had no potter to demand such a disclosure. For himself, he belonged to a society, that of the Freemasons, which would no doubt be considered as a foolish society, but still no power in the country should make him divulge its secrets.
§ Sir J. Newport
said, he would not pry into the secrets of that foolish society, of which the hon. gentleman bad avowed himself a member, but he would persevere in the question be had put. If such oaths were to stand in the way of inquiry, there might thus be an end put to the due administration of justice.
Mr. K. Douglas
objected to the question being put, and considered the oath of, the Orangemen, as analogous to that of a grand jury, and of the Freemasons, neither of which were asked to be divulged.
§ Mr. R. Martin
was clearly of opinion that the question ought to be persevered in, and that the witness ought to be re- 493 quired to answer it. The reason for refusing the reply was obviously because the witness could not deny the fact. If sir A. B. King did not answer, he must abide the consequences of his refusal.
thought this a very favourable opportunity for undeceiving the witness, and others similarly situated. The chairman ought to inform sir A. B. King, that the oath he had taken was no bar to a reply to the question.
said, that the question was one of great difficulty, as the House had only the choice of inconveniences. He had already stated his decided opinion, that no man could be allowed to plead a voluntary oath as an excuse against answering the questions of any court of justice, much less of the House of Commons. If this were permitted, all inquisitorial power was at an end, since he who wished to resist it need only previously take an path of secresy as to the transactions respecting which he was to be examined. On the other hand, it was equally clear that the House was at liberty to exercise the fullest discretion, upon every question which it was proposed to ask of any witness at their bar. In a court of justice the parties had the right to put any question they chose. The judge had only to determine whether it was a legal one, and if it was he could not refuse to admit it. In that House the case was widely different. There the questions were those of the whole body, though proposed by an individual member: there could be no obligation upon any one to consent to a question being put which he conceived to be irrelevant, immaterial, or in any way inexpedient for the public interest. The real point in discussion therefore was, whether the question was or was not relevant and material to the inquiry; and nothing, that had passed had convinced him it was not. The inquiry related to the conduct of the sheriff, in returning what he is alleged himself to have designated an Orange jury for a political trial; and it could not therefore be denied that it was essential to ascertain what the obligations and principles of the Orange societies were. It made no difference, in his opinion, whether those principles were announced by an oath, or by a watch-word or symbol. Suppose a society formed with an oath the most innocent, expressive, only of general philanthropy, but that the watch-word communicated to the initiated were, "Ye shall bind your king in 494 chains of iron"—would not its seditious object be equally apparent? In the same manner, if the watch-word of the Orange society were, the verse which, on a preceding evening, had been read to them, it would be manifest that, whatever their professions might be, their object was persecution. He rather wished the question to be closer directed to this particular point, instead of being a general inquiry into their signs and words. There would be no sufficient reason for the House to exert its power to compel an answer to an inquiry into the signs and symbols if, as in some other societies, they were mere unintelligible gibberish and manual gestures. It had been publicly surmised and suggested that this watchword implied persecution, and he held it most essential, not only for the inquiry, but to the general interest of the country, that this should be ascertained. After what had passed it would be universally believed, unless it could be directly contradicted. He was himself persuaded, when he considered the names of the persons who were generally mentioned as belonging to the Orange society, that it would turn out, that this charge against them was unfounded, and upon this account he was the more anxious the question should be answered. It was with great pain that he stated his difference of opinion with his right hon. friends who sat near him, but he considered the interests of public justice, and the dignity of the House of Commons to be materially implicated in the decision of this question, and had no option but to pursue the strict line of his duty.
§ Sir J Newport
wished the question to be put, because it had been said, that the lord-mayor elect of Dublin was an Orangeman, and it was most material to learn whether he had or had not been present at the reading of a passage, which recommended the rooting out of the Amalekites.
denied that it was distinctly in evidence that the sheriff elect was an Orangeman. Unquestionably, voluntary oaths not to disclose the truth ought to be laughed at; but the oaths of Freemasons and Orangemen he was inclined to think ought to be respected. The latter were a body recognized in the London Gazette as having presented a loyal address to the king, which was most graciously received. The pursuit of this mode of inquiry would place conciliation 495 in Ireland at a distance immeasurable. He did not defend the societies; but, upon the whole view of the subject, he submitted that it was impolitic to persevere in the question. He did not doubt, however, that the committee had a right to put it, and to obtain an answer.
§ Mr. Brougham
distinguished this oath from that of a grand juror sanctioned by ancient law. It was most absurd to set tip this private obligation as an obstacle to inquiry. He did not say that the oath was illegal: it was not necessary for him to go to that extent: it was sufficient that it was an oath unknown to and unauthorized by law. The committee would disgrace itself for ever if it did not insist upon an answer. If it neglected to do so, all that a man would have to do in future to defeat the purposes of justice would be to take an oath to some other individual to conceal the whole truth. The next step would be for a material witness merely to make a covenant with himself for the same purpose.
§ Mr. Wetherell
felt that it would be beneath the dignity of the House to expostulate with a witness; but perhaps it might be possible for the chairman to intimate to sir A. King the reasons upon which the committee held him bound to answer the question put to him.
The question for compelling an answer from the witness was then put, and carried.
§ [The witness was again called in.]
§ Chairman.—Sir Abraham Bradley King:
§ You have objected to answer a question which was asked you on the ground, that as a member of a certain society, you have taken an oath, which, in your opinion, made it improper that you should give that answer: the committee have taken the question into consideration, and are of opinion that no oath taken in any private society can be offered as a plea, in bar of any answer required by a judicial inquiry, and still less any inquiry before this House; they have therefore ordered me to direct you to answer the question.
§ By J. Newport—Is there, or is there not, anything stated from the scriptures, to the Orangemen, respecting the Amalekites?—I have turned in my thoughts, as much as I possibly could, the nature of the question; and I cannot take upon me exactly to state the words; but this much I will say, that there is nothing whatsoever, in any words, or any part of the obligation, or any statement before or after, that goes to exterminate (if I may so call it, from the manner in which the question was put to me) any portion of his majesty's subjects whatsoever.496
§ Is there, or is there not anything stated, from the scriptures, to the Orangemen respecting the Amalekites?—I have no particular recollection of the words; but I must again say, with great respect, that there are words connected with the obligation I have taken, that I cannot, nor the universe could not, make me disclose.
§ By Mr. R. Smith.—Do you conceive that that obligation extends to prevent you from saying, yes or no, to the question that was, asked you last?—I stated before, that I have no recollection of the precise words; that there are words that certainly do not bear at all the meaning of the hon. member, who put the question: I say, there is nothing whatsoever in the obligation, before we take or after we take it, or in the whole institution of the Orangemen, that goes to exterminate, or to justify the idea of the extermination, of any class whatever of his majesty's subjects.
§ Do you conceive the obligation you have; mentioned prevents your answering, yes or no, to the question which was put to you?—I have stated already, that I do not recollect the precise words.
§ Is there anything respecting the Amalekites, stated to an Orangeman?—If the words, that I have sworn to keep secret, at all refer to that, I cannot answer the question.
§ You are asked, whether you conceive that the oath you have taken prevents your answering, yes or no, to that question; does it, in your conception?—Decidedly it does, if those make part of what I am sworn to conceal.
§ Do those words make part of what you; are sworn to conceal?—I have stated before that I do not recollect.
§ Then will you answer, or no, to the question which has been put to you?—I do not recollect.
§ Do you mean to state to the committee, that you do not recollect whether the word Amalekites, is stated to an Orangeman, in the way which the question implies?—I rather think not.
§ Will you take upon yourself positively to say, that it is not so?—I cannot recollect; but if I am compelled to give an answer upon my belief, I rather think not.
§ Will you take upon yourself positively to say that they are not?—Certainly I will not.
§ How long were you deputy grand master of the Orangemen of Ireland?—Some years.
§ Was it a part of your duty, as deputy grand master, to be present at the ceremonies which passed on the admission of Orangemen, or after their admission?—Sometimes it was; sometimes I might be present, at other, times I might not.
§ In point of fact, have you been frequently present—I have frequently seen Orangemen made.
§ Have you been frequently present at ceremonies which have passed after the admission of Orangemen?—Frequenly.before and after.
§ Do you mean to say, that you have not a distant recollection of what those ceremonies are?—I do.
§ How long is it that you have ceased to be deputy grand master?—I think it is nearly three years; better than two.
§ You again say, that you cannot take upon yourself to recollect, whether anything is communicated to Orangemen, either before their admission or after, about the Amalekites?—I cannot take upon me to say that there is.
§ How long is it since you were present at the administration of any of those ceremonies to Orangemen?—Certainly not for the last three years, I think.
§ By Sir G. Hill.—Is there anything in the obligation of an Orangeman's oath, that under any circumstances whatsoever, would call upon him, or oblige him, or authorise him, to with hold testimony from any court of justice, of any transaction that took place in life, that he was called upon as a witness to give his evidence to, in that court of justice?—Certainly not, with respect to the ordinary occurrences of life.
§ Does the obligation of an Orangeman authorise him to withhold evidence, as to any crime inquired into by a court of justice, or with respect to property, the subject matter of discussion in a court of justice, before a judge and a jury?—Certainly not.
§ Is it more the obligation of an Orangeman to maintain and support the law, and give effect to justice, than to withhold evidence, where it may be necessary to the elucidation of justice and truth?—We give the fullest and fairest testimony that is possible; every Orangeman is bound to do so; with the exception, as I said before, of divulging the words and signs that he is sworn to keep secret; and nothing else; and that is only that we shall be known to each other; and has no reference whatever, to anything whatsoever, more than that we shall make ourselves known in time of need and necessity.
§ Is it any part of the obligation of an Orangeman, not to assist all classes of his majesty's subjects, as well those that are not Orangemen as those that are, in preserving them in the full possession of their rights, and doing them justice in any court where they may be called' as witnesses?—There is nothing in the Obligation to that effect; but there is in the declaration; and for that purpose I brought the book here, and tendered it to the committee for their further information.
§ Does the declaration contain all the rules and regulations of Orangemen?—It does. The oath is there also.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—You do not understand the oath to be a secret?—Certainly not; it is in that book I have given in.
§ How long has that oath been used in Orange societies?—I think I took it in 1797.
§ Do you mean to say, there never was at any time, an oath, binding the members of an, Orange club, not to give evidence against a brother?—Never, that I know of.
§ Not to give evidence, with the exception of treason and murder, and those left to their discretion?—Never, that I recollect.
§ You say, you are not bound to conceal anything, except the signs and the words?—Exactly so.
§ Do you include in the words, certain things that may be communicated to you upon your admission?—Certainly.
§ The oath binds you to conceal that which, is communicated to you upon your admission?—Certainly; like the Friendly Brothers, and the Freemasons, and any other society.
§ Suppose a question should arise, in a court of justice, which should lead to this interrogatory being put, "What were the words communicated to you upon your admission into such a lodge," before a judge and a jury?—I should not answer that.
§ You, before that question had been put to you having taken an oath in the court, formally administered to you, swearing before Almighty God, and upon the gospels, to tell the truth, and the whole truth, how should you, after taking that oath, without any qualification or reservation, conceal any answer to the question put?—I do not think that that oath absolves me of the former one.
§ Mr. Brougham.
—I would advise you as a friend, not to act upon that persuasion in a court of justice.
§ By Mr. J. Williams.—You have been present at the administration of the oath, upon the occasions of which you are speaking, when you say you have been present at the admission?—I have, and administered the oath myself.
§ And that in many instances?—Several.
§ As many as twenty?—Oh, I dare say I might say more, considerably more.
§ Forty or fifty?—I cannot exactly say the number, but to a great many.
§ Is the committee to understand you to say, that you have no recollection, having been present that number of times, as to whether there is the phrase of Amalekites in the oath?—Certainly not.
§ In what is communicated after the oath?—I have no recollection that there is any such phrase.
§ Do you mean to be doubtful whether there is such a one, or not?—I will not take upon myself to say positively; but if I am to give my belief, I am rather inclined to believe there is not.
§ Do you recollect from what parts of Scripture those passages are taken?—I must again decline to answer that question; that is part of the question that, with great respect, I must decline answering; and I do trust the com- 499 mittee will recollect, that I am under the solemn obligation of an oath; the words an the signs are the only things that I am prevented from giving testimony of; and I throw myself upon the committees, I trust they will not press me upon a question of that kind.
§ Have you any doubt that amongst those words, there are quotations from scriputure?—certainly there are.
§ Do you object to state, if you remember them, from what part of scripture those quotations are?—That, I conceive, comes to the point that I before stated that I feel I cannot answer.
§ The committee is to understand, that you object to stating from what part of Scripture the quotations are?—The reason I feel myself obliged to object to answering that question is, that it might lead, if I told the part of Scripture, to a knowledge of what those words were, which I am bound to keep secret.
§ Chairman—Sir Abraham King: I have already informed you, that the committee has already decided, that the questions asked in the House must be answered; and that the objection you have made to answering them is not valid; you will consider well, before you refuse to answer the questions which this House has unanimously resolved ought to be answered.—It is my most anxious wish to give the fullest and the fairest answer to every Question that can be put to me; but where I am asked to declare that that I have sworn not to declare, I may hope and trust the committee will not press it upon me; it is placing me in that situation that, let the consequences be what they may, they must fall upon my head, and I must be the sacrifice.
§ Chairman.—The oath you have taken is a voluntary oath; it is not an oath acknowledged, or which can be acknowledged, as valid in any court of justice; if you were at this moment questioned in a court of justice, as a witness, you would then be put upon oath to answer the questions which were asked you; and you cannot possibly hesitate to be convinced, that a private oath you have voluntarily taken, could not possibly interfere with the oath you will solemnly take in a court of justice: now the authority of this House, though you are not on oath, is considered as of greater authority, and of higher importance, than that of a court of justice, and, under these circumstances, if you will consider for a moment, you must have sufficient understanding and reflection to see, that the questions put must be answered—I am quite aware of the responsible situation in which I am placed; I feel every respect, and I know the situation in which I am at this House possesses, but that of stepping between me and God and my conscience: I cannot help the consequences falling upon my head sever as they may be cannot give up my conscience.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—Do you refuse to answer 500 the question, aye or no, sir Abraham? The committee has no respect for your private and out of-doors oaths. Such oaths it is ridiculous to talk about. So far from regarding them as solemnities, the committee considers such oaths as absurdities. Do you refuse to answer the question, aye or no?—Distinctly so.
§ Mr. Butterworth
rose to submit, that the learned gentleman was out of order He was stating the opinion of the committee, which had not been declared. It had not yet been decided in what way the scruples of the witness were to be treated [The witness was directed to withdraw].
§ Mr. Brougham
expressed his regret that the question had been asked which brought the committee to this issue, before other questions had been put on subjects essential to the inquiry But now they were on the issue, there was but one way out of it, and that was through it. He had never in his life heard anything with more surprise and indignation than that which had fallen from the hon. member for Dover, whose conscientious regard for the obligation of an oath—[loud cries of "order," which drowned Mr. Brougham's voice].
§ Mr. Butterworth
said, he had interfered because he thought the learned member was not authorised in slating that his question spoke the opinion of all present. He would not pretend to say whether his mind was as enlightened as that of the learned member, but he would say that he had as good a conscience.
§ Mr. Brougham
contended, that he had a right to attribute to the question the authority of the committee as it had even been carried by vote, that notwithstanding the voluntary oath, an answer should be given. He went on to say that he knew of none but legal oaths, and animadverted upon the consequences of allowing the gross, fatal, and most perilous mistake to go abroad, that any other oaths could be protected by the House, and that a regard for the scruples of a tender conscience should be pleaded in support of a mere fanciful pretence to evade testimony, and to give to the mere farce and mockery of solemn and legal oaths. He attributed to the hon. member no blame but that of misjudgment.
§ Mr. Butterworth
said he had no intention to support any system of secret oaths on the contrary, he thought they ought not to be permitted. He had only 501 corrected the learned member because he spoke in the plural number, when, in fact, the sense of the committee had not been declared. As a matter of policy, however, he thought it would be attended with fatal consequences, if the question were pressed upon the witness.
§ Mr. Canning
said, that the learned member was justified in one sense in what he had stated. The opinion of the committee had been taken that the question must be answered; but not upon the identical question to which the learned member had applied himself. The question; as to which the committee had decided was substantially the same with that pressed by the learned member; but as it was not identically the same, the hon. member for. Dover was entitled to speak to order. As to the merits of the point in discussion, he thought that the committee had a right to demand an answer to its question. In saying this, he took a distinction between the private oath now to be overcome and the legal oath of a grand juror, as to which a question had been raised upon a former evening. His opinion upon the legal oath decidedly was, that even if the House could, it ought not to overrule it; but with respect to the present oath, which was illegal, no doubt, he thought, could be entertained. At the same time, he was bound to suggest to the committee, that although there could be no question of right in the case, yet there might be a question of discretion. He had voted, originally against the going into the committee, because he had foreseen considerable difficulty attaching to the inquiry, not the smallest point by any means of that difficulty being the probability of giving a triumph in the end to one of two conflicting parties: but now there arose a difficulty which he really had not foreseen, for the House was in danger, not of merely giving a triumph, but of making; martyr. A certain, quantity of false reputation, was sure to attach to every man who suffered what might be called a severe calamity; and witness at the bar was certainly not of that party to which he could be disposed to afford countenance under all the circumstances he doubted whether it might not be advisable to allow sir A. King to escape out of the difficulty into 502 which he had brought himself. The difficult, as regarded the principle at stake, would easily be got rid of, because a bill was about to be brought in which would do away with the inconvenience of private oaths altogether.
observed, that the witness had already answered the question, by saying that he did not recollect.
said, that the difficulty in which the witness was placed arose from his thinking it necessary to answer "Yes," or "No." Now, if the question were so shaped as to put it to the witness whether he recollected from what part of Scripture the words alluded to were taken, he would predict that he would answer, he did not recollect.
§ Sir J. Newport
observed, that the simple question for the committee to decide was, whether the House were prepared to abandon their inquisitorial functions, and to proclaim impunity to all those who having taken illegal of secrecy, refused to answer questions put to them at the bar of the House? Let the committee recollect how persons of less rank than the individual who had been under examination would be treated in a court of justice if they so conducted themselves. And, was it rights that any man should dare to withstand the superior authority of Parliament?
§ Mr. Secrety Peel
had he doubt of the right of the House to enforce an answer to the question, but it was a. matter of discretion; and he entreated the to consider that there was on the table, a bill to put an end to secret societies altogether. If the witness believed that the question related to the signs and symbols by which the members of the Orange societies were known to one another, it seemed unnecessary to press him to answer.
§ Mr. Grattan
said, the witness had distinctly refuted to answer and the committee, it seemed, were now to debate whether he should or should not have an Opportunity afforded him of escaping from any of the consequences of his refusal. It would be of infinite mischief, if the deputy grand master of the Orange lodges were allowed to go back to Ireland and say that the House had compromised with him.
§ Mr. Scarlett
thought it was clearly unnecessary to go into the question of the 503 secret sins and symbols of the society; but there were other things of which it was necessary to be informed. If it was to be a question, whether the witness should be considered a martyr, or that he should triumph over the committee—if one Or the other must take place—he (Mr. S.) would prefer to give him the benefit of the martyrdom, rather than the triumph, which he thought would be one of the greatest mischiefs to the country to which he was about to return. As to the bill of which the right hon. gentleman spoke, it was not absolutely certain that it would pass; but if it did, and the witness should escape with impunity, what effect could be expected from the operation of the law? That these oaths were illegal he was clearly of opinion, and that no act of parliament was necessary to make them so, though an act might be requisite to inflict penalties. He was sure that no judge in England, who had heard the witness's refusal, would have hesitated a moment in committing him. If he had, he would deserve to be impeached. Was the House, then, to forego its own rights, and allow the witness to trample on them with impunity? Rather than consent to compromise their privileges, he would give the witness the merit of martyrdom.
Mr. Secretary Canning
allowed that the House had a perfect right to enforce the answers of witnesses at their bar. He allowed also, that in a court of justice the judge was bound to commit a witness who refused to answer. He by no means wished to estimate the authority of the House at a lower rate than that of a court of justice; but it ought to be recollected, that while they exercised the same authority, they possessed a discretion which a court of justice was not warranted in acting upon. If, however, any member persisted in committing the witness, he would not negative such a vote.
admitted that such oaths were already illegal, and that the witness was not justified in refusing to answer the question which had been put to him. But they must all desire if possible not to push the matter to an extremity. All that he wished was, to give the witness the opportunity of making a satisfactory answer. Let him be brought back to the bar, and asked if he recollected from what part of Scripture the tests were taken to which he had alluded.
§ Mr. J. Smith
asked, if the House did not insist upon an answer on the present occasion, what would become of their authority oh any future occasion, when a witness before them might refuse to answer a question, by saying that he had taken an oath which precluded him from doing so? They could not in justice visit the delinquent in such a case with punishment, if they allowed the present witness to escape with impunity. He should be very sorry to create any disturbance in Ireland, but he would rather do that than abandon the ancient, acknowledged, and useful privileges of that House.
§ Mr. Brougham
thought it better to ask the witness again. As the case stood at present, it would go forth to the world, that being asked "whether he refused to answer yes or no," his reply was "distinctly so." He feared that the observation of the right hon. gentleman was very right, as to the injurious effect of giving the witness the merit of martyrdom. What he wished was to give the witness an opportunity of showing his repentance. If, however, the committee were driven to a decisive measure, he should not apprehend so much evil from allowing the witness a crown of martyrdom, as he should from conferring on him the laurel of victory.
Mr. K. Douglas
thought the difficulty might be removed by asking the witness, whether his hesitation arose from his wish not to disclose the signs and symbols of the Orange societies.
§ Sir J. Newport
begged to say, before the witness was again called in, that he decidedly objected to any other question than this:—Whether, on consideration, he adhered to the answer which he had given? To ask him any other question would be to put an end to the authority and dignity of the House. He believed those hon. gentlemen who thought the peace of Ireland would be best consulted by not pressing this matter were much mistaken.
Mr. Secretary Canning
said, it ought not to be forgotten, that their proceedings on this question would go forth to the world and be criticised. What if it should turn out, that in the whole book of Joshua the Amalekites were not mentioned?
§ Mr. Butterworth
said, he had been above stairs to refer, and he had been unable to find the Amalekites mentioned in the book of Joshua [a laugh].
§ Sir. J. Newport
referred the hon. gentleman to the 10th chapter of Joshua, the 19th verse, in which the Israelites were exhorted to root out the Amalekites.
§ Mr. Butterworth
replied, that he would go up stairs again, and examine the passage pointed out to him by the right hon. baronet.
§ Sir J. Newport
repeated, that the only matter for the committee to decide upon was, whether they would allow a witness to refuse to answer a question, on the ground that, by the Obligation of an oath, he was precluded from doing so?
§ Mr. Butterworth
returned, and said that he had examined the 10th of Joshua, the 19th verse, and found no such passage as that quoted by the hon. baronet [Read, read!]. The verse was as follows:—"And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities; for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hand."
§ [The witness was again called in.]
§ Chairman.—Sir Abraham Bradley King: I am now to ask you, whether, after the time you have had for reflecting upon the question which was asked you, you are now willing to answer the question; do you object to state, if you remember them, from what part of Scripture those quotations are?—I do; but I do think it would not be dealing with that candour which I. think every person placed at this bar is bound to pay to this House, to tell every thing he knows according to the questions asked, if I did not say, that I might generally refer you to the part of Scripture, but in doing that, I know that it would subject me to be followed up by other questions, which would come in the end perhaps to the same thing.
§ Chairman.—It will be quite time enough to object to any question which is objectionable, when that question is asked?—I will only say, that in the part of Scripture alluded to, there is nothing whatsoever contained, more than the signs and words by which Orangemen know each other, and that is to be found in the Old Testament.
§ By Mr. Peel.—Do you mean that the verse, or verses of Scripture, which are referred to, are merely used as a symbol or token by which one member of the association can recognize another?—Precisely so.
§ Exclusively for that purpose?—Exclusively for that purpose, and for no other.
§ Is there expressly, or by implication, an obligation on any members of the association, who make a reference to the Scripture in that way, to observe any maxim contained in that text of Scripture?—Not at all, there is nothing that I can recollect at this moment.506
§ In the book you have delivered in it appears that what is called the obligation of the purplemen, is in these terms "I do solemnly and voluntarily swear, that I will keep the signs, words, and tokens of a purpleman, from an Orangeman, as well as from the ignorant; unless authorized to communicate them by the proper authorities of the Orange Institution" have the words, which are, referred to, any other force than the signs or tokens?—None
§ Mr. Peel
said, it now appeared, that the words in question were used solely;, as signs by which Orangemen knew each other, and were not at all relevant to the inquiry before them. He wished that the witness's answers might be clearly understood; because, although he would be most strenuous in supporting the right of the House to commit, yet it was a discretionary right. He would never vote that the a witness should be committed for not answering a question not necessary for the purpose of the inquiry; and as this related only to signs and tokens, it could not be necessary.
§ Mr. Wetherell
was of the same opinion. He could not consent to send a man to Newgate for not answering irrelevant questions; questions, which the very order of reference to the committee excluded.
§ Sir J. Newport
said, that the objections to the relevancy of the question, to whatever right they might be entitled in; any, other respect, could not be applied now. They had not been discovered until the witness had refused to answer. So convinced was he of the importance of compelling the witness to answer, that he would take the sense of the committee, although he should stand alone in doing go.
thought, that the last answer of the witness was satisfactory, and had relieved the committee from the embarrassment which his refusal had placed them in. He therefore moved, that the chairman should report progress.
§ Mr. Brougham
seconded the motion, but with very different feelings. He trusted the committee would never again be placed in such a situation as that from which his hon. friend's motion was to extricate them. He could not, however, 507 look upon that as any thing, but a subterfuge. The committee had met with nothing but discomfiture in their progress hitherto; but his hon. friend, in his courtesy, discovered that the witness's last answer relieved them. In that they had been referred to the Old Testament. "Oh, then," said his hon. friend, "as that is a book we have at our fingers' ends, this is sufficient; let us toss up our caps, because the committee has got out of the scrape, and report to the House the glorious progress we have made." He only hoped that the public, when a report of these proceedings should go forth to-morrow morning, would see the matter with the same good-natured eyes as those of his hon. friend.
§ Mr. Canning
concurred with Mr. Calcraft. He could not but think that a reference to the Old Testament was a very fit way of terminating an evening, in which much difficulty had arisen from misunderstanding a passage therein.
§ Mr. J. Smith,
looking upon the adjournment only as a means of screening the witness from the consequence of his refusal to answer the questions put to him, would take the sense of the committee upon it.
§ The committee then divided, on the motion for reporting progress: Ayes, 72. Noes, 19.