§ 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,
§ Sir Abraham Bradley King, bart. was called in; and further examined
§ By Sir J. Newport.—On a former night you stated, that you were an Orangeman prior to the adoption of the new system of 1820?—I did.
§ Did you take the oath under the old system?—I did.
§ Will you State Whether the oath under the old system was not in these words, "I do solemnly and sincerely swear, of my own free will and accord, that I will, to the utmost of my power, support and defend the present king George the third, his heirs and successors so long as he or they support the Protestant ascendancy, the constitutions and laws of these kingdoms; and that I will ever hold sacred the name of our glorious deliverer William the third, prince of Orange, and, I do further 508 swear, that I am not, nor ever was a Roman catholic or Papist that I was not am, nor ever will he a United Irishman; and that I never took the oath of secrecy, to that or any other treasonable society;, and I do further swear in the presence of Almighty God, that. I will always conceal and never reveal either part or parts of what is now to he privately communicated to me, until I shall he authorized so to I do by the proper authorities of the Orange Institution; that I will neither write it nor indict it, stamp, stain or engrave it, nor cause it so to be done on paper, parchment, lead, brick, stick, stone, or anything, so that it may he known; and I do further swear, that have not to my knowledge or belief, been proposed and rejected in or expelled from any other Orange lodge, and that I now become an Orangeman without fear, bribery or corruption: So help me God?"—I cannot take upon me to say, that all the words that the right hon. member has read from that paper, was in the, oath I took, but I think substantially they are the same.
§ In that oath it is stated that you would always conceal and never would reveal any or parts of what was then to he privately communicated; were these the secret articles so communicated, "that we will bear true allegiance to his majesty king George the third, his heirs and successors, so long as he or they support the Protestant ascendancy, and that we will faithfully support and maintain the lays and constitution of these kingdoms;" was that one of the articles?—No, not one of the secret articles; that was public.
§ Was that one of the articles that was Communicated to you?—That is oar public oath, inserted in our oath; it was part of the oath.
§ "That we will be true to all Orangemen m all just actions, neither wronging one nor seeing him wronged, to our knowledge, without acquainting him thereof;" was that any part of the engagement?—That was no part of the secret obligation.
§ Was it part of your obligation?—It is, in the printed declaration I handed in. to the committee, on my first examination.
§ Is it part of the articles, or part of the engagement you entered into?—It is part of the declaration of, the Orange society, it is no part of the secret article that the hon. baronet asked me upon.
§ Was that part of your engagement as an Orangeman?—Unquestionably, the whole declaration, is part of the engagement, it forms the engagement.
§ "We will be true to all Orangemen in, all just actions, neither wronging one not seeing him wronged, to our knowledge, acquainting him thereof;" did you enter into any such engagement?—I have stated that; it is part of the declaration of the Orange Institution, and of course it became part, no doubt; but it is no part of the secret, articles; I wish to give the fullest and, the fairest answer that I can, but I understood the right hon. baronet to 509 ask me whether those were the secret articles.
§ Have you entered into that engagement, aye or no?—Unquestionably.
§ "That we are not to see a brother offended for a sixpence or a shilling, or more if convenient, which must be returned the next meeting if possible?"—I have no recollection of anything of the kind.
§ "We must not give the first assault to any person whatever, that may bring a brother into trouble?—I have no recollection of that being part.
§ Can you say that it was not part?—I will not take upon me to swear, for I consider myself here now delivering testimony as on oath, and I will not take upon myself to say that it was not.
§ "we are not to carry away money, goods or from any person whatever, except arms and ammunition, and those only from an enemy;" did you enter into any such engagement?—Never, nor heard of it before.
§ Is that any part of what you handed in before?—Not at all.
§ "We are to appear in ten hours warning, or whatever time is required, if possible (provided it is not hurtful to ourselves or families, and that we are served with a lawful summons from the Master), otherwise we are fined as the company think proper?"—No such think that I ever heard of.
§ "No man can be made an Orangeman without the unanimous approbation of the body?"—There is he such rule that I know of an Orangeman cannot be made without being proposed into a lodge; or admitted into a lodge he must be unanimously admitted.
§ "An Orangeman is to keep a brother's secret and his own, unless in case of murder, treason and perjury, and that of his own free Will?"—I know of no such regulation.
§ Can you take upon yourself to say, there is no obligation of that kind entered into?—None that I know of.
§ No Roman Catholic can be admitted on any account?—Certainly not.
§ Do you recollect having printed gratuitously for distribution, any paper in the year 1820?—I do.
§ With the title of "Extracts from the Rules and Regulations for the use of Orange societies, revised, corrected and adopted by the grand Orange lodge of Ireland, assembled at Dublin, in January 1820?"—The word "extract" I believe is not mentioned in it; it is exactly what I delivered in at the bar of this House.
§ Do you recollect whether in the paper you have delivered in, there is a separate obligation stated for persons who are called Purplemen?—There is.
§ In the obligation of a Purpleman, it is stated that he does solemnly and voluntarily swear, that he will keep the words, signs, 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; is it not meant by that, 510 that there are separate characteristics by which a Purpleman is distinguished from an Orangeman?—It is.
§ In what book, chapter, and verses of the Old Testament, are the passages to be found, which are read to an Orangeman?—
§ [The Witness was directed to withdraw;]
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, he wished to call the attention of the House to this question. The committee had decided, by a majority of 72 to 19, that it was not desirable to press a question which the witness would refuse to answer, as being under the obligation of an oath not to disclose. The question now put was just leading to a similar discussion to that of Friday, and taking the House over the same ground. His opinion was, that the question ought not to be put; because he did not think it at all pertinent to the inquiry before the committee. Undoubtedly, if the question was shown to be necessary, it was one which the House had a right to put, and to enforce an answer; or to take those steps which, were usual on such occasions; but; if the committee should be of opinion that the question was not necessary, it ought hot to allow it to be put, and the less so, as it must lead to a result than which nothing could be less calculated to tranquillize Ireland. Nothing, in his opinion, could tend less to tranquillize that country than the sending the witness at the bar to Newgate. The right hon. baronet wished to know what were the secret signs and symbols of distinction between one particular denomination of Orangemen and another. But the right hon. baronet had not shown how the answer to that question, if it were answered, could bear upon the inquiry. If it was put for the purpose of tending to, suppress such societies, it was unnecessary; because there was a bill then in progress through the House by which all societies, having secret signs and symbols, and secret meetings, were to be declared illegal. It could not be necessary for showing what was the conduct of the grand jury or the sheriff, because there were other means by which the right hon. baronet could come at information on those points, which were really the only points to which the committee ought to direct its attention. It was for these reasons that he was anxious the House should decide now, that the question was one which ought not to be put.
§ Sir J. Newport
thought it was of the 511 utmost Importance to the inquiry before the House, that they should be informed of the rules and regulations of the Orangemen; for the sheriff was charged with having empanelled a jury of Orangemen, and it was necessary, in order to come at a proper decision on that subject, to know what Orangemen were, and whether, from the nature of their regulations, they were fit persons to decide in a case between Orangemen as such, and the head of the government in Ireland. It was necessary to know the signs and symbols of Orangemen, in order to come at the real case before them. Suppose that one of their symbols was, "We will exterminate the Roman Catholics," would it not be necessary for the House to know it, in forming their opinion whether the sheriff was guilty of partiality in selecting such men for a jury, having to decide in a case to which he had just alluded? It was, then, for the House, under those circumstances, to decide whether they would allow a witness to refuse to communicate those symbols which he knew, on the ground that he was bound to secrecy by a previous obligation. He denied the conclusion drawn by the right hon. gentleman, that the impression of the House was against putting the question. The decision of the House on Friday, as he took it, was not upon the relevancy or irrelevancy of the question put to the witness, but on the propriety of not going further with the examination at that hour. But, even if the House had decided then, still he conceived the question might be again opened. The House and the witness had had considerable time for reflection, and might now re-consider their former opinions. He could not conceive anything more derogatory from the character of the House, as a court of inquiry, than to suffer the witness to go from their bar without answering all questions which they might think it proper to put, and which he had the power to answer. What would be the conduct of the House if they had a United Irishman at their bar, who might refuse to disclose the symbols of his association? Would they allow him to depart, triumphing in his refusal? He would not say what they might be disposed to do now; but he remembered that in former times a different conduct was pursued towards United Irishmen. They were obliged to confess, not only before 512 inferior courts, but before inferior officers of those courts: and that, too, by means the most cruel. The simple question now before the House was—whether a question which would give them information as to the signs and symbols of Orangemen, many of whom were selected on the grand jury, was relevant to the inquiry which they were carrying on? If they decided that such a question ought not to be pressed, then he would maintain that they were no longer a court of inquiry; for, in order to evade answering, any future witness had only to take a voluntary and illegal oath before he appeared at their bar, binding himself to secrecy on those points on which he expected to be examined, and claim to be exempted on the ground of such oath. He trusted, however, the House would not give up its right, nor forfeit its character with the country, as the highest court of inquiry. It was said, that the witness ought not to be allowed to go away a martyr. He wanted not to make a martyr of the witness; but he would rather see him so, than see him become the victor over the rules and forms of that House. The right hon. gentleman had said, that there was a bill now before the House, which would have the effect of declaring all secret associations in Ireland illegal. It was not his (sir J. N's.) fault that such a measure was not introduced long ago. But, in fact, the bill had nothing to do with the case before the House; for the question was not, what the Orangemen might be in future, but what they were at the time the grand jury was empanelled. Under those circumstances, he thought it his duty to press the question.
said, be had not moved the adjournment on Friday with any view to get rid of the question put to the witness. Upon what grounds the House supported his motion he would not say, but his own was not, that any restriction should be put to questions which hon. members might deem relevant to the inquiry. As to the question now before the House, he did not see exactly how it bore upon the inquiry; but if his right hon. friend thought it important, he would not object to its being put, and he thought if put, that the House should teach the witness, that no voluntary obligations entered into before-hand could prevent their enforcing an answer.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, he did not rise to 513 maintain that the House ought not to enforce an answer to any question which it might think proper to put, or to contend that the witness ought to be protected from the consequence of refusing to answer, by any obligations which he might previously have entered into; but he did rise to exercise his right of giving an opinion upon the propriety of the question put. The right hon. baronet seemed to argue the case, as if the question had actually been put to the witness, and that he had refused to answer. However, the committee would recollect, that the witness had not, and could not have refused, because the question was not yet suffered to be put to him; therefore it was useless to take up the time of the committee in discussing what it ought to do, until the occasion should arrive when it might be called upon to act. In his opinion, the question was one which would not answer any end pertinent to the inquiry before them. The right hon. baronet had endeavoured to show its relevancy by saying, that many of the grand jury were Orangemen—that some of the parties accused were Orangemen—that there were secret signs and engagements between them, and therefore that the sheriff was wrong in selecting such a jury to try such a party. Now, it might be perfectly true, that some of the grand jury were Orangemen; and that some of the accused were also Orangemen: but the relevancy of the question about their secret signs and symbols would not be proved, unless the right hon. baronet showed that the sheriff was cognizant of those engagements and secret symbols, and of their operation on the two parties. But how was this fact shown by the evidence? It was distinctly stated; upon the belief of one of the witnesses, that the sheriff was not an Orangeman; that he did not know their secret symbols. But it was upon the proof that he was, and did know them, that the House would be justified in putting the question to the witness. On these grounds, he would say the question was irrelevant. He fully concurred in thinking, that making the witness the martyr which he desired to be, would tend to produce the most fatal effects in Ireland. It was asked what he would do with a United Irishman, if placed at the bar under similar circumstances? He would do the same with him as with an Orangeman. He would not allow him to be protected from an- 514 swering, by any previous obligation which he might have voluntarily entered into: but he would not drive, either the one or the other, to the refusal of disclosing his secrets, when such disclosure could not be relevant to the inquiry before the House. He did not think the question put to the witness was relevant, and would therefore oppose it.
§ Mr. Abercromby
thought that, whether with reference to the character and dignity of that House, or to the present state of Ireland, the question now before it was one of the most pertinent that the wit of man could devise. Here was an inquiry into the conduct of the sheriff for partiality in selecting an Orange jury. That the sheriff must have been aware what the effect of a trial by such a jury; would be, was obvious; for he was proved to have said—"I have got an Orange; panel in my pocket." What was an Orangeman, and what were his principles, were the most natural questions in the: world to ask after this. And yet, the moment that question was asked, they were to be stopped and told that the question was not relevant! If this was not a question pertinent to the inquiry, he was at a loss to know what was. Would the House consent to allow an excuse for not answering, which would not be tolerated by any court of justice in the country? Would they, who were superior to all courts of justice, stop in their inquiry for the sake of truckling to Orangemen? Would they allow some of the heads of that party to go back m triumph to Dublin, after having set at defiance the rules and orders of that House? That this would be the case there was no doubt, if the House did hot enforce its orders. And by whom would these men be met in triumph on their arrival in Dublin? By those very men, for the payment of whose large, salaries the House had voted such considerable sums this session. If the House was to tolerate this, it was as well to let the Orangeman speak out. Let them say as they felt, "We will be good and loyal subjects, as long as you allow us to rule Ireland as we please," It was quite absurd to think of stopping in their inquiry, after having gone so far. It was worse than pusillanimous language to say, "we do not wish to give a triumph to any party." That House in the discharge of its important trust, ought not to consider which party might triumph, but which party 515 was right. Would the House shut its eyes to the state of Ireland, and to the influence which Orange associations had upon its government? Would they shut out evidence as to the nature of those associations, after what had been said upon the subject by one of the highest authorities in that country? Judge Fletcher, in a charge given to a grand jury, in Ireland in 1814, had pointed out the mischievous effects of Orange societies, particularly in the north, which the learned judge declared "had poisoned the very sources of justice." Would the House, after all they had seen and heard, stop short and declare, that it was not necessary to make any other inquiries into the nature of the secret engagements of Orangemen? He confessed he could conceive no greater triumph which the House could give this man, than their allowing him to go back to Dublin, and to boast, as well he might, of his victory over the House. If the House were content now to say that they would not press a question which they had already solemnly determined to be a fit one to be put to this witness, they were decidedly truckling to the very party which parliament had so repeatedly stigmatized as the cause of the late unhappy commotions in the capital of the sister kingdom. For his own part, he should say, that even were this sir Abraham Bradley King to be permitted to go back to Dublin, amidst the gratulations of all the Orange lodges, that triumph would be poor and contemptible, compared with the mischievous triumph he would carry off, were he permitted, in defiance of the commands of the House, to avail himself of the oath which he had pleaded. No triumph could be to him so great, or by others so much to be deprecated, as that he should be enabled to say, he had foiled, upon a question of this moment, the assembled Commons of England.
§ Mr. Pelham
said, that after what had taken place on Friday, the House, he thought, was precluded from granting the indulgence solicited.
Mr. Secretary Canning
wished to state, very shortly, what the grounds were upon which he meant to found the vote he should give. If he had no doubt in his own mind as to whether or not the power of the House should be exerted, if the question were repeated, to compel an answer to such question, and it were 516 asked, whether, the penalties, which the House might indict should be enforced in order to compel an answer, he should have no difficulty in saying that they ought so to compel it. Independently of the question of their power to requires such an answer, he should say, that it would be time enough to consider of the mode in which the power was to be enforced, when the House should have, finally determined upon exercising, it. Recollecting, however, as he did, the power of the House to overrule an oath (meaning thereby an oath which, if not necessarily illegal in itself, was yet not prescribed by law)—recollecting, too, the nature of the penalty which it was most undoubtedly in the power of the House to impose; he did apprehend, that its infliction might lead to consequences the most serious, the most disastrous, and the most to be deprecated. This was a question of judgment and discretion; and one of which he would only say, that, after eight and forty hours consideration, he retained the same opinion that he had arrived at on a former occasion—namely, that it would be the more discreet course, for the House to pursue, to stop before the question that had been proposed was put to the witness, rather than be obliged to deal with that other question of penalty, after the first had been put. If, indeed, the consequence of not pressing the first question was to be, that the Orange association was to continue in existence in Ireland, with all the attributes which had been attributed to it, he might justly hesitate upon the point of discretion. But, considering that they had now a bill upon their table, the effect of which was substantially to put down that society, and having before them evidence enough to show what its effects were upon the peace of Ireland, he did not think it, expedient to purchase such additional evidence, at the expense of all the difficulties that must ensue upon the putting of the question. In his view of the case, the whole matter now immediately, under discussion lay in this narrow compass, If, however, there should be a majority of the House who might not look at it in the same point of view that he did; and if they should determine still to put the question, despite of all the difficulties it might entail, he had no hesitation in saying that he would not be the person again to interpose in the matter, and that the consequences of the witness's refusal to 517 reply must be those which the House had the unquestionable power of visiting upon him. If he thought otherwise, he would not have addressed the House upon this stage of the question, but upon that touching the penalty. As the matter now stood, he did think it better, in point of discretion, to pause now, rather than to push the controversy to the extent which it must go to, if the House once arrived at it, subsequently to putting the question. He thought the House could not mix up the question itself with anything like the principles of this society, and he could declare for his own part, that had the same difficulty arisen with respect to the case of an United Irishman, he should have felt upon it as he did in the case before them. He should have considered, as he now thought, that it was better to stop short on the first occurrence of a difficulty of this nature, than to go on to meet it, in the only way it could be met—by the exercise of the privileges of that House in the punishment of the individual.
§ Mr. Brougham
confessed he could much have wished that his right hon. friend, before he had entangled the House in the difficulty of a new question, had waited till the preceding question had been repeated; that question, which had already been proposed, and which after some dispute the House had resolved should be put to the witness, but which, in spite of their almost unanimous resolution, the witness still pertinaciously and contumaciously refused to answer. He said this, because, under submission, it did appear to him, that before they extended their inquiry to any other particular, it was absolutely necessary for the House—(if it wished to retain even the shadow of a power which hitherto it had always been thought to possess—the power of compelling answers to questions put from the chair)—that it should first have an answer to the question which had been put to this witness. But this was the only difference (a difference on the mere point of postponement) between his right hon. friend and himself. Of the question itself, as proposed by the right hon. baronet, there could scarcely be two opinions; and yet it had been adverted to as irrelevant and inexpedient. But, who could seriously doubt of the relevancy of that question? And it was now too late to ask whether or he it was expedient, for it had been put, and the 518 House had determined properly put, to the witness by the chairman. The committee was to inquire into the conduct of the sheriff of Dublin, against whom evidence had been adduced to prove; that having packed an Orange jury, he boasted that he had provided an Orange panel, to try certain parties, accused of—
rose to order. The learned gentleman was really assuming too much. It had, indeed, been stated in one part of the evidence which had been given at the bar, that the sheriff had packed an Orange jury; but this assertion was in another part denied.
§ Mr. Brougham
resumed. He was quite sure that the right hon. gentleman, who had hitherto conducted this inquiry with great fairness as well as acuteness and ability, had suffered himself to depart from that course in the present instance; for surely he would see the absolute impossibility of arguing one part of a case, which must, of necessity, be interlocutory, if he (Mr. B.) was to be confined to that which could be strictly held as proved; because, as yet, there was no decision of the House upon the subject of the inquiry. He was not attempting to prejudice any party. He was not prejudging (God forbid that he should prejudge) the sheriff of Dublin. He was putting the case hypothetically only. He contended that there stood at that moment, upon the minutes of the House, certain evidence which went in one certain direction. Let it not be said that he was asserting, that the sheriff had actually, and of truth, packed this grand jury; but he did assert, that the House was in possession of evidence to show that the sheriff came into a certain room, and said, "I have a good Orange panel in my pocket." And this testimony he must be allowed to say was not contradicted; for, as to the attempt which had been made to refute it at the bar, it was really such a total failure as he had never before witnessed. [Cries of "Order, order."]
, in rising, as he felt compelled to do, to order, was really anxious only to recall his learned friend to the course of argument which he had been just before so ably and properly pursuing. For his learned friend to enter further into the merits of the defence, was in fact to anticipate the case which would be afterwards to be submitted to the House, on the result of the whole evidence.
§ Mr. Brougham
felt obliged to his learned friend for the suggestion, and could assure him, that he had been dragged most unwittingly into the statement he was making He knew, however, that the House was agreed with him upon this part of the evidence—that the sheriff was alleged to have said, and with tokens of satisfaction, "I have got an Orange panel in my pocket." Now, the committee were to pursue the inquiry, not as to whether the sheriff really said, "I have got an Orange panel in my pocket," but whether he did or did not pack this grand jury? But packing a grand jury might be the result of his having in his pocket an Orange panel, or it might not. The result of such a panel, again, in the sheriff's pocket, might have been the polluting of the very source of justice. It would depend on further evidence, to be adduced at the bar, what meaning they were to give, in short, to the words imputed to the sheriff. It would depend on that, whether that admission of which the sheriff was said to have bragged, "that he had this Orange panel about him," amounted to a declaration of his having polluted the sources of justice, or to any brag at all. For aught that he at present knew to the contrary, the result of the House's probing to the bottom the meaning of this Orange panel declaration, might be, that the sheriff would come out quite clear from the investigation; but, until the House had examined into this matter by more evidence, he must say, that they were totally unable to pursue the principal inquiry with any chance of being enabled to put a rational construction on the evidence adduced already. The question not yet answered had been declared on the other side of the House to be improper. And why? Because the sheriff was an Orangeman, The right hon. secretary for Ireland had observed, triumphing as much in his supposed victory over the right hon. baronet as the sheriff had exulted in the Orange panel in his pocket, that the question in relation to the Orange oath could not be a relevant one, because—and it was the oddest of all reasons—the sheriff himself was not an Orangeman. And then there was a cheer on the right hon. gentleman's side of the House. "You must first prove" said the right hon. gentleman, "that the sheriff is conversant with the signs, and symbols of the Orange association before you ask sir 520 Abraham Bradley King such a question." What had this to do with the matter? for he (Mr. B.) came to this result—what did the question mean? And he contended, that either the question must be answered, or the whole of the inquiry was a delusion and a mockery. Either this question must be gone into, having been asked, and answer denied, or the whole investigation must be abandoned; unless they chose at once to inform the world, not only that they did abandon it—not only that they felt that they had got into a scrape, and were anxious to get out of it at the earliest possible period—but that they had arrived at a much more fatal conclusion, and one which all mankind would not fail to draw [Hear!]; namely, that all these concessions, these modes of subterfuge, were no more than so many phrases suggested by discretion, "that better part of valour;" that beneath those phrases they meant to conceal what might better be expressed by another word, sometimes also implying the better part of valour; and that another term was made use of only to varnish over their failings or their weakness—the word dignity, which he had heard, with surprise, the right hon. secretary for foreign affairs employ, when recommending the House to fall prostrate before the Orangeman—to yield to the deputy grand master of the Orange lodges. The moment sic Abraham Bradley King chose to say "I won't answer you." the right hon. gentleman recommended the House to acquiesce in his—scruples, forsooth; and, after, the question had been put on a former occasion five or six times over, without being objected to on his part, the right hon. gentleman all at once discovered it to be irrelevant. At length, it seemed, after eight and forty hours of deep cogitation upon the dignity and the privileges of parliament, he had been fortunate enough to ascertain, that the question to sir A. B. King was totally irrelevant! Why, if sir Abraham should beat them, after thus refusing to answer, and bringing forward his great threat of going to prison, what then? He (Mr. B.) did not go so far as to propose conferring on him the honour of martyrdom: by no means. The House was now so accustomed to defeat, that it was unnecessary to go such lengths. Sir Abraham, vapouring about his Orange oath, and putting forth the ultima ratio of the great Orange king, said to the House—"I will go to prison. I 521 will wear that crown of martyrdom, of which, if you disturb a single laurel on my forehead, all Ireland is undone." Sir Abraham only showed himself now at the bar. He did not even assign reasons for his refusal, and the House yielded to him. With sir Abraham the case was simply "veni, vidi, vici." Indeed, the only difference between him and his great precursor was, that when the latter came among us, he had at least to conquer us after coming: but sir Abraham Bradley King had only to show himself, and to defeat the parliament, the inquiry, and the government altogether. Let not the House suppose that the public out of doors were as kind to them as the House were to themselves. To such conduct as they were pursuing, the public would say effeminacy was the only applicable term. The House might use whatever words it best suited their palate to designate it by; but the world would say, that sir A. B. King, because he was a deputy grand Orange master—because he was a favourite at court, and came before parliament loaded with court honours—because he was connected with men of rank and note,—was not treated by the House of Commons, as they would treat some unfortunate United Irishman, or some poor printer, brought to their bar; but, as lord; Redesdale had once said, (and it was impossible not to respect the high authority of an individual connected for many years with Ireland), the result of that long connexion was, that in that unhappy country there was one justice for the rich, and another for the poor; both of which were equally indefensible in their character." Grieved was he (Mr. B.) to declare, that, even in England and in the House of Commons, there was one right of privilege for the rich, another for the poor; and, though the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) had held himself out as an exception—and a splendid one he would be, if he would act up to the declaration he had made—and though the country would consider him as an exception, if a poor United Irishman should ever be brought up to the bar on a charge of having facilitated the escape of some of those traitors whom his learned friend (Mr. Plunkett), holding with equal hand the scales lately confided to his keeping, had proceeded against; and if, on that Irishman being asked, whether he had not aided in such escape, and had not bragged of having got a Green panel, or an 522 Eringo-brach panel, or a panel having whatever other arbitrary title the unfortunate Irishman might give it, he, the Irishman, should answer, "Excuse me, I am under the obligation of an oath—it is a great and sacred obligation between me and the Divinity,"—though the right hon. gentleman might act up to his pledge, what would the House at large say The right hon. gentleman himself said, that in recommending the question of the hon. baronet not to be put, he acted as he would do in the case of an United Irishman—that he should be better performing his duty in the latter case, as he was in the present one, by not pressing such a question. So that the right hon. gentleman would not, of his own accord, give them a triumph over an United Irishman; but he was willing to concede a much greater triumph, in this instance; namely, that of the Protestant-ascendancy-men, as they called themselves, over the Roman Catholics of Ireland. These were the persons who claimed to be excused from violating an illegal oath for the purposes of justice; who were sworn to serve the king faithfully, as long as he observed the conditions which their oath respected, But this was not the duty which the House was called on to perform, now if, however, they were determined to stop short, let them do so at least in fair, open, and honest language. Let them say at once, that they were afraid of Orangemen—that they were about to put down Orange societies by bills which might possibly never pass—that they were about to stigmatize those associations and oaths as unlawful, which the law had already declared to be so—that the opinions of his majesty's ministers and of the attorney-general were against them, and would, therefore remedy the evil. Why, when all this got abroad, the country would not believe one word of it; but they would believe that which was much more probable—they would take the probability to be, that if the House did not go on to, press this question about an Orange oath, they were really afraid of Orange societies; and that, in order to prevent alderman sir Abraham Bradley King from obtaining the glory of martyrdom in that cause, they were willing to put down their necks, their dignity, their privileges, all low together in the dust, and ask him to put his foot upon them, beseeching him to forego his perilous intention.
admitted, that great incon- 523 venience attended the pitting this question. Of the power of the House to compel an answer he entertained no doubt; but he was disposed to concur with his right hon. friend in doubting the expediency of doing so in this case. He would recommend the right hon. baronet to remodel his question, or postpone it to another opportunity, whether those formed part of the Orange oath.
said, it would be fair to put the question to the witness at once in the way now suggested, rather than lead him on into any unnecessary predicament.
§ Lord Milton
thought the right hon. colonel was going too fast when he objected to the course of proceeding which the right hon. baronet intended to pursue. In point of form, the question had not yet been put.
§ Mr. Croker
was of opinion, that any question which had not been put from the chair might be withdrawn.
§ Mr. Brougham
said, that if a question suggested by a member were put from the chair, it certainly could not be withdrawn, because it then became a motion; but, in the present case, the question had only been suggested by the right hon. baronet, and therefore he had a right to withdraw it if he pleased.
said, the committee must be aware that throughout the inquiry, questions had been permitted to be put by individuals, instead of being formally proposed through the chair. The question which the right hon. baronet wished to withdraw had been entered on the minutes, It could not be expunged without the consent of the committee.
§ Mr. Croker
suggested, as the only means of getting rid of the difficulty, that some honourable member should move that the question be now put.
§ Colonel Barry moved, that the question be now put.
§ Mr. Abercromby
thought the committee would be acting very arbitrarily if they declared that, nolens volens, a member should put a particular question.
said, he could not help thinking the motion just made a very extraordinary one. The argument of the 524 gallant colonel was, that the question had been put, it could not be withdrawn, and his that the question be now put. If the question had not been put, what became of his argument, arid if it had been put what was the use of his motion? How, he should be glad to know, was his right hon. friend to withdraw a question winch had never been put?
said, that if there were any absurdity in the motion he had proposed, he was not responsible for it. He had taken up the suggestion of the hon. secretary for the admiralty.
objected to such a motion as nugatory, because, if it were determined that the question should not be now put, such a decision would be no bar to putting it half an hour hence, when the circumstances might be materially altered. It would be more regular to allow the hon. member to withdraw the question.
§ Mr. T. Wilson
contended, that the question could not be regularly withdrawn without the permission of the committee.
§ Sir J. Newport
said, he apprehended no hon. member had the right of calling upon him to put any particular question. Now, he did not choose to put this question at present, and nobody could compel him to put it. It was perfectly competent to him to examine the witness in his own manner, and it was for himself alone to determine hereafter, whether it might not be expedient to put this question.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, that if his gallant friend persisted in his motion, he should certainly assist the right; hon. baronet in opposing it. He objected to any question being put for the purpose of extorting disclosures as to indifferent symbols or signs adopted by the Orange men; but if the right hon. bart. had been informed that there were any verses from Scripture relating to extermination read to the party taking the oath, he should not consider this an indifferent matter, and he should not therefore object to putting any question relative to such-passages.
§ [The witness was again called in and examined.]
§ By Sir J. Newport.—You have said, that certain passages of the Scriptures are read to Orangemen on their initiation; state in what part of the Scriptures those passages are to be found?—
suggested that it would be 525 better to put the question through the chair.
§ Mr. Brougham
said, it was material that the committee should pause a little, to consider in what position they now stood. The witness had on two occasions openly contemned the authority of the House. When he was called back the second time, and asked whether he would answer the question put by the committee, he told them distinctly that he would not. The question now at issue between the committee and the witness was, whether they or the witness should prevail? It was said that the question which he had twice contumaciously refused to answer had been answered; and, if this were so, then he (Mr. B.) would admit that the victory, such as it was, had been gained by the committee. But, what was the answer which had been at length obtained? The witness declared that no passages in Scripture were read, except with reference to the signs and symbols by which Orangemen might know each other; as if a thing could not be at once a sign, and a pledge; as if a watch-word might not be also a pledge, and a pledge so much the more fatal, as it would operate in the double capacity of a rallying cry and an obligation. How had the witness answered the question, whether he recollected the part of Scripture from which these verses were taken the object of the question was, to ascertain where the passage was to be found, and the answer of the witness was marvellously definite, precise, and explicit. The committee called upon the witness to point out the particular part of the Scriptures in which the passage was to be found, and the witness facetiously referred them to the Old Testament. The committee had ample space to expatiate in. The passage might be in Genesis or in Malachi; it might set forth that Abraham begat; Isaac, and Isaac, begat Jacob; or it might, be a passage recommending us to exterminate our enemies, root and branch, so that man, woman, nor suckling, might survive. The witness was called upon to point put a particular, part of the Scriptures, and he referred them to all the books of the Old Testament—Apocraphy, he supposed, and all. Was there ever a more degrading mockery of the dignity and privileges of that House? It was as gross a mockery, as if the witness had been asked "How many Orangeman are there?" 526 and had answered, "I will not tell you, because I am bound by my oath; but if you consult the multiplication table you may find it out." Under these circumstances, he thought, that the form of the, motion should be, that, having directed the chairman to put the question, and the witness having refused to answer it, the committee again direct the chairman to put the question.
§ Sir J. Newport
then moved, that the following question be put by the chair man to the witness:—"In what book, chapter, and verses of the Old Testament are those passages to be found which are read to an Orangeman at his initiation?"
objected to any thing which appeared like an unnecessary interference with a man's conscience.
§ Mr. J. Williams
contended, that the question was not merely relevant, but absolutely necessary to the further prosecution of the inquiry.
§ The committee divided: For putting the question 87; Against it 117.
§ Mr. Brougham
then addressed the House. He wished, he said, that he could comprehend the motives which had led hon. members to the decision which had just been anounced. He was afraid that the real ground on which many members objected to pressing the last question upon the witness, was a regard to the religious and conscientious-scruples which he professed to feel He was afraid that many gentlemen, from what they thought a laudable, but from, what he must ever deem a mistaken notion—from an error in judgment, and not from any deliberate wish to cherish secret associations and illegal oaths—had, by, their vote of that night, given their sanction to a practice which, if allowed to. continue, would cut up religion by the roots, and render the administering of, oaths in judicial proceedings perfectly nugatory. The oaths which the witness had taken were a mere mockery, and ought to have, no obligation; they were an irreligious, not a religious ceremony they were to be discountenanced, not countenanced, by every man who loved religion and respected law. Such was, his own deliberate opinion. Such, too, he would, venture to say, would be the opinion of every judge who should have occasion to deliver an opinion upon this most serious subject. He grieved that there should be any gentleman in that House who could not eradicate from 527 their minds the idea, that regard ought to be paid to these absurd, these irreligious, and, he would add, these blasphemous oaths. Strange as it might appear, it was nevertheless true, that those individuals who were most active in indicting poor people for what they, in their superior wisdom, called blasphemy, were now the foremost in their places in parliament to give countenance to a system of far worse blasphemy. But, passing from, that subject, he must again observe, that in the mistaken grounds on which the committee had just decided—grounds which would apply to every other question that might be put to the witness, and which must obstruct at every instant the progress of his examination—in those mistaken grounds he read the decision of the committee, not to consider the propriety or relevancy of the question to be put, so much as the inclination and convenience of the witness to answer it. It seemed as if the first point that the committee would have to decide in all its future questions, would be—not whether the question was fit or proper, or convenient for them to put—but whether it Suited the pleasure and convenience of sir Abraham Bradley King, the Orange chieftain, to condescend to give it an answer. If such were the case, he was of opinion, that the committee ought not to expose itself to further humiliation than that which it had already sustained; but as he perchance, it might not happen to be so, and as he wished to avoid doing any thing that might bear the appearance of rashness, he would recommend his right hon. friend to persevere, and to put two or three more questions to the witness at their bar. His right hon. friend could but desist at last, supposing that, after all his efforts, he should still find the committee obstinately bent on patronising the witness in his observance of an oath, acknowledged on all hands to be as illegal in its nature, as it was in its tendency odious and wicked. And here he wished to impress upon the consideration of the committee, that he was by no means the only person who considered this oath an illegal oath. The Attorney-General for Ireland had declared it to be so. The Lord Chief Justice in Ireland had expressed the same opinion, and had further added, that the individual who took it committed a misdemeanour by so doing. What regard, then, ought the House to pay to a witness who rested his defence upon a 528 violation of the law—who pleaded his own wrong as a bar to their undoubted rights; who unblushingly set up the misdemeanor he had committed as a protection against the inquisitorial functions of the high court of Parliament? Never since parliaments had been in existence did he know of a case where such an outrage had been done to the privileges of the House—in which there had been seen one millionth part of the degradation which this case had brought upon it; and he was astonished that the right hon. gentleman opposite should talk of the danger of making the witness wear the crown of martyrdom on such an occasion. When sir Francis Burdett was committed to the Tower, was it for offering any obstruction like the present to the powers of Parliament? No: it was because he had spoken lightly of certain of their proceedings, in a pamphlet which he had written some two or three weeks after their conclusion. The House, however, by an unprecedented, and, as he should ever contend, by an illegal stretch of power, sent the hon. baronet to the Tower, notwithstanding that the same argument, which was now in use, was raised about giving a triumph and making a martyr. The argument, however, such as it was, has but little effect in that day; though the proceeding to which it related was of such a nature as to place in jeopardy the tranquilly of the metropolis. He mentioned that case, not with a view of approving it—quite the reverse—but with a view of showing how careless, how totally indifferent the House had been about giving triumphs and making martyrs, in a case that was not a thousandth part so exigent, as the case which was then under discussion. He therefore contended, that on every consideration of policy and of justice, the committee was bound to proceed with this investigation. They might, however, be of a different opinion. They might resolve to act upon their recent decision, and might determine not to allow his right hon. friend to put any question to the witness, that he might think it inconvenient to answer. In that case, they had better put an end to this inquiry at once, and with it to all future inquiries; for they might depend upon it, if they exercised their forbearance at present, it would not be by many the last time that they would be called upon to exercise it; and he should like to see with what grace the House would use its privileges. He 529 should like to see with what grace it would dart its vengeance, for any real or imaginary breach of privilege, at the head of any offending printer, such printer not possessing friends at court, and not having a powerful and illegal association to back him—he should like to see with what grace any minister would propose to punish that printer, supposing he should steadily refuse, even though four times requested, to give any explanation of the breach of privilege he had committed, on the ground that he belonged to the secret association of journeymen printers. Supposing he were to object to reveal the watch-word of the association, and were to bid them look for it in the holy Scriptures, or in Johnson's Dictionary, or even in the Numeration table, and supposing he were to add, "My conscience is tender, I have a regard to my oath: whatever consequences may arise from my refusal, I am prepared to brave them all." He should like to see with what grace any minister, after the defeat which the committee had that night sustained from the Orange Chieftain, would venture to commit that individual to Newgate, or even to the custody of the sergeant at anus. He contended, that by the decision to which the committee had that evening come, it had abdicated its most important functions, and had absolutely committed an act of suicide. If it allowed the witness to brave its vengeance in the manner which he had attempted—if it permitted him to succeed in the violation of the privileges of parliament which he had so daringly contemplated—there was an end to their existence as a branch of the legislature, and they were no longer a House of Commons for any useful or salutary purpose. It only remained for some daring adventurer to play the same game in that House of which it had once before been a witness—to take that mace, which was now placed under the table, but which then rested on it, and bidding them seek the Lord elsewhere, turn them out with the kicks and cuffs they richly merited, and then, ordering the doors to be locked, and putting the key in his pocket, to depart to his lodgings in Whitehall, and to put an end to their existence forever. [Cheers.]
§ [The Witness was again called in, and examined]
§ By Sir J. Newport—Are the following words, or any part thereof, put to any Orangeman, either at his admission or after; "And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite 530 the hindermost of them, suffer them not to enter into their cities, for the Lord your God hath delivered them into your hands"?—Not one word of it to the best of my recollection.
§ Are any words read to that effect?—None that I know of.
§ By Mr. Brougham.—From what part of the Old Testament are the words read to Orangemen on the admission, taken?—
§ [The witness was ordered to withdraw.]
§ Mr. Brougham
said, that the present question was the natural result of a previous answer given by the witness himself. If such interruption was sanctioned, it was a mockery to proceed further in that more than mock inquiry. Every step they were taking only led to deeper humiliation. For his part, as he clearly saw the determination of the majority, he should not trouble himself or the committee by dividing.
acquiesced in every observation of his learned friend. The king's ministers had much to answer for to Ireland and the empire, for the course they had taken that night. They had sacrificed the marquis Wellesley and the Irish government to the Orange association. They had allowed the inquiry to take the most comprehensive scope, until it actually arrived at that point on which it was of essential importance that the fullest information should be imparted. What an effect it must produce on the peace of Ireland, when the great body of its population were told, as the decision of that night would tell them, that their rights, the dignity of the House of Commons, and the principles of justice, were sacrificed to the Orange faction. After what had passed, it would be worse than useless to proceed further. He should, therefore, move, "That the chairman should report progress, and ask leave to sit again that day six months."
§ Mr. Hume
said, that if ministers persevered in refusing to press the witness, they treated the attorney-general for Ireland most unfairly; since that learned gentleman stood, upon his own admission, convicted of being in the wrong, unless he showed that the sheriff of Dublin had packed the jury. Government, by the course they were taking, were manifestly endeavouring to prevent the elucidation 531 of the truth. To continue the inquiry under such circumstances, would be a mere farce. He therefore thought it would be better to get rid of it at once by the motion of adjournment.
Mr. S. Rice
deeply regretted the resolution of the House, which shut out from the inquiry the evidence which was necessary to bring it to a rational conclusion. At the same time, he thought that to close the investigation abruptly, would be unjust to the sheriff of Dublin, and disgraceful to the character of parliament.
§ Mr. Grattan
wished his hon. friend to withdraw his motion. Ministers were not acting handsomely; but, to put an end to the inquiry upon the sudden would produce great mischief in Ireland.
said, that if the House wished, at the present point, to put an end to the investigation, he should feel perfectly satisfied with the manner in which the sheriff of Dublin had come out of it; but, if any ulterior proceeding was meant to be founded upon the evidence which had been given, he should feel it his duty to call further witnesses.
observed, that the House could give no pledge as to an ulterior proceeding. As any member might move such a proceeding, no pledge could be of any value unless given with all the members of the House present. At that moment, even the hon. baronet who had moved for the inquiry was not in his place. He thought no one could suppose that the hon. member for Cork, by his motion, had meant to put an extinguisher upon the proceeding altogether.
§ The motion of adjournment was put and negatived.
§ [The witness was again called in and examined.]
§ Do you consider yourself bound by your oath to keep secret all that passes in the lodge?—No, I do not.
§ Are you bound by your oath to keep secret any part of what passes in the lodge?—Nothing: but what passes with respect to the making of an Orangeman, the signs and words.
§ With the exception of the words and signs, may every thing be revealed that passes in an Orange lodge?—I think so.
§ In what then consist the proceedings of lodges, besides the making of Orangemen, the signs, the tokens, and the symbols?—There is a variety of business to be done, it is impossible to say exactly what it is, a variety of business may or may not be before the lodge.
§ Can you mention, any part of the business, or the general nature of the business?—I declare, I cannot; the lodge is opened, as I mentioned before, according to the rules and regulations that are on the minutes, there is a form of prayer read at the opening the lodge, and at the closing the lodge; during the time the lodge is sitting it is according to the business that comes before them, what that business is, may consist of a variety of things, but I do not conceive there is any thing that a man attending in that lodge would be bound to keep secret, save and except the signs and words.
§ Is there any thing takes place in those lodge, hostile to any class of his majesty's subjects?—Certainly not; I never knew it, nor I do not believe it,
§ What office did you hold?—I was deputy grand master of the Orangemen of Ireland.
§ Is that an annual office?—It is an office that the person is elected to annually.
§ Is it an annual office?—It is an annual office, he may be displaced, the officers are elected annually, and he is one of them.
§ Do you at present hold that situation?—I do not.
§ Were you dismissed from the situation, or did you retire?—I retired.
§ Have you any objection to say why you retired?—I have not.
§ State then why you retired?—About three years ago, I think, there was a question occurred, the grand lodge were called upon that question, they were of opinion, with me that a certain act was not prudent or necessary to be done at that time; however it was done afterwards, and I did conceive that I ought not to be at the head of a society, that at that time disregarded the instructions that, they received from the grand lodge, and I retired.
§ What was that question?—It was relative to the dressing of the statue.
§ What were your sentiments upon that occasion?—I thought it imprudent to dress the statue at that time.
§ Was that at the time of the King's visit to Ireland?—It was prior to the king's visit.
§ Was it at the time when he was expected?—It was sometime before he came; it was just about the time of the king's coronation.
§ By Mr. Butterworth.—In any part of the Orange institutions, symbols, or any thing else, is there any thing directly or indirectly hostile to any class of his majesty's subjects?—Decidedly not.
§ Are there any political discussions take place in the lodges?—Unless that is called a political discussion; I do not know of any.
§ Is there any thing in the oath of an Orange- 533 man, or in the mode of his admission into a lodge, which in your opinion, would induce him to swerve from the principles of justice, either with regard to protestants or Roman catholics, if he were upon a jury of his country?—Decidedly not.
§ Are you acquainted with sheriff Thorpe?—I am.
§ Is he an Orangeman?—Not to my knowledge.
§ Is there anything offensive to any class of his majesty's subjects passes in the Orange lodges?—Nothing that I know of; latterly the Roman catholics have taken offence at the Orangemen and their practices, latterly I have heard of it, but only very latterly; I know of nothing that passes in an Orange lodge that ought to give offence.
§ By Mr. Hume.—You have stated in your former evidence, that there are certain passages of the Old Testament read when an Orangeman is made; do you recollect what is the purport of those passages of Scripture?—
§ [The witness was directed to withdraw.]
§ Mr. Hume
insisted, that he had a right to ask the purport, though the decree of the committee had precluded the question as to the particular verse or chapter. What objection could any man have to state the general tendency of the passages, unless they were of a character which he wished to conceal? Might not their purport be to hang all the Roman Catholics? By a concealment of the fact, he had a right to presume that these suppressed passages did convey such an import. And on his conscience he believed they did.
§ Mr. H. Dawson
deprecated these attacks upon the character of such a large and respectable body of the Irish nation as the Orangemen. He never belonged to that association, but if the obligation of an oath were removed, he would become an Orangeman to-morrow. He admired them for their principles and their conduct, and he was convinced that to their exertions Great Britain would have to look for the preservation of Ireland to the empire. And yet it was the fashion of the day to visit with every term of reproach that body. He defied any man to say that there was in the evidence of sir A. B. King anything that did not reflect credit on his character, he was a man of character, and a conspicuous member of the Dublin corporation; but, because that corporation was Orange, epithets of disgrace were lavished on it by members on the other side of the House.
Mr. V. Fitzgerald
complained of the 534 extremes to which two hon. members had gone in the heat of argument; the one arrogating an exclusive feeling of loyalty on behalf of one party, and the other attributing to Orangemen universally a wish to hang the Catholics. He trusted that the hon. gentleman would see the propriety of withdrawing the question.
§ Sir J. Newport
said he would have passed over this discussion in silence, but, for what had fallen from an hon. gentleman vested with an official character; that hon. gent, had stated, that on the loyalty of the Orangemen the Mouse was to depend for the safety of Ireland. But the hon. gentleman did not stop there: he had gone into a defence of the corporation of Dublin. But did the hon. gentleman forget the report of the commissioners of accounts, charging that very corporation with gross malversation, and the report of the committee above stairs adopting the same view, and charging them with embezzlement to the amount of 30,000l.?
§ Mr. Hume
said, that his object was, to ascertain the nature of these institutions. To screen the witness from answering the question was a denial of justice; and as ministers clearly made themselves parties in the case, he charged them with participation in a design to suppress the truth. There could be no hope of peace for. Ireland until Orangemen, as a body, should be destroyed—till faction should be rooted out of that unhappy land. He could not conceive what ministers would be at. All he could make of it was, that this, was part of the same spirit of compromise which they had so often had reason to complain. The secretary for Ireland had a bill upon the table to put down Orange associations as unlawful. The under secretary said, that but for the oath he would be an Orangeman. How were they to reconcile these different assertions? He was determined to take the sense of the House upon the question.
§ Mr. Grattan
said, that if the under secretary really held these opinions which he professed, he was not fit for his situation. It was clear from what had passed at the bar, that Orangeman ought to be put down.
§ The committee divided: For putting the question, 77. Against it, 131.535
§ [The witness was again called in and examined.]
§ By Mr. Hume.—Is there anything in that part of the Old Testament which is read at the initiation of an Orangeman, or at any time after, which expresses sentiments of hostility on the part of the Israelites towards any other nation?—I do not think there is.
§ Are you sure that there are not any such sentiments?—I am.
§ Are those passages of Scripture such as preach peace and good-will to men in general?—
§ [The witness was directed to withdraw.]
§ Mr. Ellice
suggested to the right hon. secretary, that it would be more consistent with the manly and candid course which he had hitherto adopted, to postpone the further consideration of the question till this day six months. He would ask him whether he did not think that such a course would be more likely to promote the peace and happiness of Ireland.
Mr. Secretary Peel
thought he might be allowed to express some surprise at the hon. member's coming down, after having Comfortably dined, and asking him whether he had not better follow a course which had already been twice decided against by the House. He would now, in his turn, ask, whether the questions which had been, put were not trifling with the House? whether it had not already been decided, that the witness ought not to be compelled to give any further answers.
§ Mr. Ellice
begged to assure the right hon. gentleman that he had divided upon both the motions. The result of the first had induced him to think the cause was hopeless; that of the second had convinced him it was so. His majesty's government, at first opposed to the inquiry, had in its progress thrown every obstacle in the way, conformably to that system of compromise winch was their distinguishing character. It was because he saw that to proceed further would be an unprofitable waste of time, that he had called upon the right hon. gentle- 536 man to move? That the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again on that day six months. We could not do it himself with consistency, because he had voted in the first instance for the inquiry, and subsequently for the questions which had been negatived.
§ Mr. Scarlett
said, that the minority, of which he formed one, were of opinion, that the object and the political effect of the Orange associations were injurious to the public peace of Ireland. The majority thought otherwise. If that latter opinion were well founded, they ought not to object to the inquiry. But, as long as the witness at the bar was permitted, upon every frivolous pretext, to suppress his answer, no good purpose could be accomplished by continuing the questions.
§ Sir J. Yorke
said, that if the House could not get at the truth of the case, it would be better to put an end to the inquiry, and he hoped that the hon. gentleman would move to that effect. But this he would say, that "come what may," to use the words of the right hon. secretary, if a witness at the bar of that House would not disclose what he must know, he should go instantly to Newgate, who ever he might be.
§ Mr. J. Smith
said, he could not help expressing how deeply disappointed he felt. When the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) was appointed to his present situation, although he differed from him on many political questions, yet, considering his great talents he rejoiced at his appointment, because he thought it the harbinger of a wise and liberal policy towards Ireland. Those hopes he was sorry to say, had not been realised. But, although little good would result from this investigation, it would still trusted, be productive of some; for every man who had attended to it, must be, satisfied that the administration of justice in that country required revision. He 537 should, therefore, oppose the motion just made.
§ Mr. Canning
said, that having objected originally to the inquiry foreseeing the state in which the House would he placed by it, he did not feel himself at liberty to interfere in the present question, and should therefore decline giving any vote at all.
was perfectly satisfied with the case of the sheriff as it then stood. If the hon. baronet were voted out of the chair, he was willing to concur in the motion; but if it was intended to found any ulterior proceeding upon the evidence before the House, then he must examine to the end. If he did otherwise, he felt he should be giving up his duty; and therefore, with all the inclination he had to save himself and the House from fatigue, unless the proceedings were to be altogether closed, he must proceed.
, alluding to the opinion he had previously expressed in the course of the evening, did not think he was precluded by it from recommending the hon. colonel to examine all his evidence now. Let not the hon. member flatter himself that the case could rest here. He should be Sorry if it were now closed under any such impression. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) must excuse him if he looked upon his last declaration as a most singular one. With great submission, he thought he was bound to make up his mind to Ay or No. The right hon. gentleman (excellent, prophet!) had foreseen the situation in which the House would be placed. He (Mr. Calcraft) had also foreseen it; blithe defied any man to say that the House had not received much useful information from the inquiry. He should oppose the motion if it went to shut out all further inquiry. When the whole case was before the House, it could form an opinion; and now that there was but one more witness to examine, it would be absurd to stop short. He entreated gentlemen to pause before they gave a 538 vote on this question. They were sitting in the exercise of their highest functions, and' upon a case in which, whether inquiry were fitting or not, they had resolved that it should be entered into.
§ Mr. Canning
said, if the case had been closed, he should not have felt himself at liberty to say that he would withhold his vote. The hon. gentleman had misunderstood him, if he supposed he had intended to withdraw from the discussion, when the case should come for the decision of the House. But, if those who conducted the case on either side thought fit to terminate it prematurely, he would not, by any vote of his, preclude such a mode of disposing of it.
§ Sir J. Newport
said, that as the inquiry had originated with the hon. baronet, the member for Westminster, who was absent from indisposition, the case ought not to be closed without his consent.
said, the investigation had fully answered his expectations. It appeared from the evidence of one of the witnesses, a police magistrate (major Sirr), that a great deal of tampering existed in Ireland, which ought not to be tolerated. With respect to the sheriff of Dublin, the practice of striking juries evidently called for correction. And, with respect to that House, the investigation clearly displayed the system which was at work both within and without it.
§ The Committee divided on Mr. Jones's motion: Ayes, 42. Noes, 173. Majority against it, 131. The Chairman was then directed to report progress, and ask leave to sit again.