HC Deb 06 July 1831 vol 4 cc802-4
Mr. O'Connell

asked, whether Ministers had paid any attention to the excitement produced in the counties of Wicklow and Wexford, and some districts of the North, in consequence of the apprehension, that the processions of the 12th of July, which had been discontinued for twenty-five years, were to be revived.

Mr. Stanley

answered, that no pains had been spared by Government to discourage, and, if possible, to prevent such processions; and such, he was bound in justice to say, had been the policy of the preceding Administration. The Roman Catholics had shown the most praiseworthy forbearance on the 17th March, under, he believed, and wished to state, the authority of the Catholic Priests; and he hoped, that the Protestants would follow their example on the 12th of July. With regard to arms, be might add, that since the affair at Newtownbarry, the Lord Lieutenant had directed that the issue of arms to the Yeomanry should be suspended. In consequence of the great excitement, and the importance of the subject, a stipendiary Magistrate had been sent to the spot, to make the necessary investigations.

An Hon. Member was happy to be able to assure the House, that the Earl of Enniskillen, and other influential noblemen, were aware of the state of public excitement, and meant to do all in their power to prevent the processions on July 12th.

Mr. Hume

inquired whether ministers had not had sufficient experience, to know, that nothing could put an end to collisions but disbanding the Yeomanry? Every Member for Ireland, unless he wasa member of those corps, had protested against continuing; them; and, for his part, he believed, that they contributed to foment disturbance.

Sir R. Peel

observed, that if every Yeomanry Corps was disbanded, it did not at all follow, that processions would be prevented; the different parties might still be banded together, and the same collisions mightensue. Every man, of whatever party, must heartily join in deprecating the revival of these processions; he called it revival, because in many counties, as in Wexford and Wicklow, they had been discontinued for many years. In his opinion, no man of honourable feelings would wish to perpetuate the recollections of past contests, and he trusted that these annual processions would be quite discontinued.

Lord J. Russell

said, that the Government had done every thing to promote reconciliation between the parties, and to get rid of the processions altogether. He was happy to say, that its efforts were seconded by the Protestant Landlords, and that recommendations had been sent from this country not to form those processions.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that these processions were not Protestant, but Orange. There was a wide difference between the two.

Sir R. Bateson

considered it extremely unfair to condemn the whole of the Yeomanry of Ireland because one or two corps might have committed some indiscretions. The peace of the North of Ireland was intrusted to the Yeomanry, and they had faithfully and honourably discharged their duty to themselves and to the country. The Yeomanry had always been considered a constitutional force; but those who now called themselves liberals and freemen, gave a preference to the regular soldiers, and asked for a standing army instead of a constitutional militia. He hoped the Go- vernment would not be induced by sneers, or intimidated by threats, to abandon this useful and constitutional force.