§ On the question that the Speaker leave the Chair,
§ Mr. Lefroy
said, he hoped that the deep importance of this subject to the peace of Ireland, and to the loyal and well-affected portion of his Majesty's subjects in that country, would induce hon. Members to allow him to point out the improper nature of the provisions of this Bill. It was clear that the provisions of this Bill were directed against a certain portion only of his Majesty's Irish subjects. He was aware that the right hon. Gentleman had disclaimed the influence of party feeling; but the most ordinary observer must perceive, that the Bill was intended to prevent the party processions of Orangemen in Ireland. The Bill enacted that it should be illegal for any person to join in a procession for the purpose of commemorating any festival or anniversary of a political event connected with religious distinctions, at which processions badges should be worn and music played. No man acquainted with Orange processions could doubt that this description applied exclusively to them. He opposed the Bill, then, because it was a partial measure, levelled against the most loyal portion of his Majesty's subjects. At the same time he declared, that he should be heartily glad if they were discontinued, with the consent and good will of the Orangemen; but the attempt to suppress them by the rigorous enactments of this Bill would produce the very evil which the measure professed to obviate. The Bill made it a misdemeanor for persons to attend processions for the purpose of celebrating festivals on anniversaries connected with political events or religious distinctions. Did the right hon. Gentleman recollect how many of these festivals were appointed by law to be observed? Did he mean to expunge from the Litany the form of service appointed for some of these anniversaries and festivals commemorating political events, 1024 and connected with religious distinctions? He was old enough to remember when these commemorations were sanctioned by the Government of Ireland; when the two Houses of Parliament and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland formed part of the procession round the statue of King William, decorated with all the insignia which were now reprobated as the marks of party spirit; in short, he could remember when the Government of Ireland took an active and leading part in these processions. Although Government had given up that proceeding, was it to be supposed that, all of a sudden, men of inferior rank in life, who had not been so educated as to be able to cast away their ancient attachments and feelings, with that facility with which the Government cast them away—was it to be supposed that the lower classes should be prepared to give up suddenly all their long-conceived prejudices, all their early attachments, to the commemoration of great and national events connected with the civil history of their country? and, if they did not suddenly resign all their old attachments, were they, therefore, to be deemed fit objects for coercion? The Orangemen of Ireland were a most respectable and loyal body, attached to the Government and institutions of the country, and ever, in the hour of danger, arrayed on their side. If such were the character of those against whom this Bill was levelled, they ought to be dealt with a little more feelingly; their attachments and prejudices should be respected, and the right hon. Gentleman should act towards them with more patience than his conduct on this occasion displayed. The course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman had tended, from a principle of independence inherent in human nature, to revive these Associations with all their acrimony and party spirit, and to multiply Orange Societies. The right hon. Gentleman could not light upon a measure more mischievous and more injurious to Ireland than this Bill. And what was the period which the right hon. Gentleman had chosen for bringing it forward? Just at the time when these processions annually take place—at the moment when men's minds were made up to act—that was the period which the right hon. Gentleman selected for bringing in this Bill. He brought it forward at the very moment when the feelings of the people were most opposed to it; and without any previous notice, he told them—"You shall not assemble—I will bring in a law by which you shall be put down, although true it is, 1025 that for a century and a half you have hitherto been permitted to form your processions; and although true it is, those processions have never by any Government been denounced or declared contrary to the law, but up to the present moment have been admitted as legal and authorized and sanctioned by every succeeding Government." Notwithstanding this admission of their legality, the people were now to be suddenly called upon, under severe penalties, immediately to relinquish these processions. He was persuaded, that if a different appeal had been made to this loyal and respectable portion of his Majesty's subjects, it would have had a better effect than this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman knew that a great body of the physical force of Ireland was arrayed against the law—that there was a well-concerted and deeply-laid conspiracy, which had already destroyed the property of the Church—which openly defied the law—and which had taken possession of several counties, where the gentry felt themselves no longer the possessors of property, but the mere tenants-at-will of those who, in open day, carried on acts of rebellion against the Government. Watch-towers were erected to carry on communications from hill to hill, in order to summon simultaneous meetings of these numerous and hostile conspirators, and was it wise, was it politic, under such circumstances by such a measure as this, to strengthen the array against the Government, by driving those persons who now constituted the only loyal portion of his Majesty's subjects in that country to form a junction with the open and declared enemies of the law? From his heart and soul he deplored that such a measure should have been resorted to, and he implored the right hon. Gentleman to suspend his course otherwise the whole nation would be involved in the greatest calamities. Another great question pending in Ireland was the Repeal of the Union. They had been told by the hon. and learned member for Kerry, that a British Legislature was utterly incompetent to legislate for Ireland. Was it, then, expedient for his Majesty's Ministers to force into the arms of the great advocate for a Repeal of the Union, the Orangemen of Ireland? But such would be the inevitable consequence of thus thwarting the prejudices, and embittering the feelings of men who had ever been allied to the Government of the country. Treated as those men had been by his Majesty's Ministers, they would be driven into the 1026 ranks of those whose object was the Repeal of the Union, and would effect the ultimate dismemberment of the British empire. He should be wanting in integrity and common honesty, if he did not announce this consequence to his Majesty's Government, and implore it to desist. It was said, that these processions gave offence to Roman Catholics. It was but the other night, however, that the hon. and learned member for Kerry declared that they did not give any offence, and why should they? They were to commemorate the acquisition of liberties which it was the glory and happiness of that portion of his Majesty's subjects now to share? The processions did not originate in a desire of giving offence to the Roman Catholics: they went on for a century, without exciting the slightest objection on the part of the Roman Catholics; and the Roman Catholics themselves formerly joined in the processions. But, it was said, that these processions had been attended with bloodshed. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to produce one tittle of evidence, that bloodshed was the result of Orange processions, unless the persons present at them were attacked by an illegal force. He called upon the right hon. Gentleman to say, why he should legislate in favour of the prejudices of those who produced the mischief and not in favour of those who were assailed. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to prove that Orangemen had ever, in a single instance, attacked the Roman Catholics, though, when attacked by the Roman Catholics, they had resisted, and bloodshed had been the result. Because men walking in procession, as they had a legal right to do, had defended themselves when illegally attacked, was their conduct in self-defence to be declared illegal. Bring in, he said, an Act of Parliament against those who made the attack, and he would support it; legislate against the oppressors and not the oppressed. That would be honesty and justice; but the Bill was a measure of gross injustice. If they were to legislate against all assemblies and combinations of men, let the right hon. Gentleman legislate against those combinations which had evaded the law, and could not be grappled with; let him legislate against those meetings and masses of men, who by the use of terror had almost destroyed the property of the Church in Ireland. Let the right hon. Gentleman legislate against the Political Unions; against those bodies the existence of which his Majesty's Prime Minister had 1027 declared to be inconsistent with all good Government—which met openly and in the face of day to discuss whether we should have an hereditary Legislature; and which assembled with badges, banners, and tri-coloured flags. Did the right hon. Gentleman ever hear of Orangemen making or listening to seditious speeches, and then going forth with their blood boiling, and bearing the emblems of rebellion against his Majesty? Whilst the violators of the public peace—whilst disloyal and seditious subjects were allowed to go on without control in their outrageous course—it was most partial and unjust to legislate against the loyal and patriotic Orangemen. He was not a member of their body; he was neither advocating their interests, nor vindicating their conduct, as a partizan, but he was advocating the cause of justice and of a large respectable and loyal portion of his Majesty's subjects. But it was said, that these meetings hurt the feelings of the Roman Catholics, because they were connected with religious and political distinctions, and, therefore, they must be put an end to. But were all anniversaries and commemorations of political events to be given up, because it might happen that a portion of the people might unreasonably take offence at them? Was the commemoration of the martyrdom of the first Charles to be given up, because it might be disagreeable to the regicides of the present day? Was the restoration of the second Charles to be no longer commemorated, because it might not please republicans and levellers? Perhaps a Bill would be brought in to prevent the commemoration of the battle of Waterloo, because the illustrious chief under whose auspices that victory was achieved had become unpopular. And that illustrious person would be prohibited from driving into the city on the 18th of June, lest he should hurt the feelings, excite the passions, or affront the prejudices of a portion of the people. He could not allude to that event, without expressing his reprobation of the base and cowardly, and unworthy insult offered to that illustrious chief—an insult which, but that those who inflicted it were unworthy to be accounted part of the British nation, would have brought upon it an indelible stain. He supposed in deference to the feelings, and in consideration of the opinions of that portion of his Majesty's subjects forming the Political Unions they were not to have, in future, any event commemorated which it might happen that those persons might not approve. A portion of the Bill, that clause 1028 which made it an offence to assemble at those meetings with arms was not objectionable; but it was wholly unnecessary, because to meet with arms would be an offence at Common Law. All the rest of the Bill making it a misdemeanour to meet unarmed, and to wear badges, which, surely were not more offensive to his Majesty's Government than tri-coloured flags, was partial, unprecedented, and unjust. He, therefore felt it his duty to offer the utmost resistance to it, and he should move, as an amendment, that the House resolve itself into a Committee that day six months.
seconded the Motion on the result of which the peace of Ireland would depend. This unfortunate and ill-advised measure, of his Majesty's Government had created such heart-burning in Ireland, and such an hostility against the British connexion, as he had hoped would never have existed. He too had hoped that his Majesty's Government would never have offered such an outrageous and gratuitous insult as this most partial and most obnoxious measure to all the Protestants of Ireland. But everything respectable in Ireland was likely to be treated in the same way; for neglect and contempt were the creed of his Majesty's Government in all cases where the good of Ireland, its welfare, and its internal prosperity were concerned. Day by day he received letters stating, that on one estate men assembled to the number of 20,000 and even 40,000, knit and bound together as one man, not like the Orangemen to protect the property and institutions of the country, but by an oath to put down tithes, and destroy the landed proprietors; yes, to exterminate, for such was part of the Whiteboy's oath—to exterminate the Protestants of Ireland and drive them out of the country. Let his Majesty's Government first put down and disperse these bands of rebels, and then Orange processions would of themselves be discontinued. Let Government do its duty and prevent the assassinations and murders which were perpetrated, not in the night but by open day, and then, and not till then, ought they to call for the support of the Protestants of Ireland, to put an end, as far as they could, to all party-feeling in Ireland, and which he was confident they would all assist in doing as one man. But the course which Government had pursued was calculated to alienate that great and loyal portion of the people of Ireland, and make them disposed to join in effecting that object which had been avowed by 1029 the hon. and learned Gentleman—the Repeal of the Union: and as that hon. and learned Gentleman advocated the cause of the Orangemen and opposed the Bill with all his power, his object undoubtedly was to promote that present darling of his ambition. Much as he lamented the line of conduct pursued by Government, he hoped that Orangemen would remain steady in their attachment to the union of the two countries; and would not suffer any despotic attempt on the part of Government, forcing a measure through the two Houses of Parliament in the shortest space of time—levelled at them, and intended to put them down—whilst that Government had encouraged those opposed to them, he hoped, notwithstanding these insults and outrages that the Orangemen would never take refuge in the arms of the advocates of a Repeal of the Union. His Majesty's Government might think that this Bill would be received as a boon by the Roman Catholics; but his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen—not the Whiteboys, for millions of Roman Catholics detested the Whiteboys—but that great portion of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects who, obeyed and respected the laws would spurn at this attempt to gain popularity—and feel it an insult to them to suppose that they could be conciliated by this most ill-advised, crude, disgraceful, unjust, partial act of Government, levelled at the forthcoming Orange processions. The Bill said, "From and after the commencement of this Act any body of persons met together for the purpose of celebrating any festival shall, &c."—good God, did the right hon. Gentleman-mean that in Ireland it should not be lawful for persons to meet together to celebrate any event? Every marriage ceremony in Ireland was an occasion for processions and multitudinous assemblages. The crowning of the king and queen of Dorking in Dublin was a festival in which processions and music, and all the paraphernalia of a mock coronation were displayed, and followed by a feu de joie. In other processions flags and banners were displayed, with mottos, such as "O'Connell for ever," and the "Repeal of the Union," and particularly at the Oyster Festivity. These festivals were annually celebrated, and the processions passed through the leading streets of Dublin—were all these to be suppressed by this Bill? At Cork was such a festival as the annual inauguration of the Mayor of Kilmarnock to be put down? Did Ministers mean to prevent 1030 the celebration of St. Patrick's day on the 17th of March, when processions took place all over Ireland. If he was not misinformed, members of his Majesty's Government had been present with the shillelah in the one hand and the shamrock in the other, to cheer on these processions. Unless this Bill was for a general abolition of all processions, it was most obvious, that the Bill was levelled only at the processions of Orangemen, to be held on the 12th of July next. On the 25th of June, they were discussing the Bill, and yet it was to be law, and come into operation on the 12th of July. Months were passed in legislating on the subject of disfranchising Old Sarum, as had been said, and yet, for this insulting object, they were called upon to legislate with most unbecoming rapidity And how did this indecent haste contrast with the conduct of Government towards those illegal meetings, where murder had been committed with impunity in open day. What, for instance, took place at Castle Coiner? There the men assembled were allowed to march through the opened lines of soldiers with impunity—and for what? To attack the property of the country secured by law, and when those who were paid to support the law encouraged the violation. When the right hon. Gentleman announced his intention to introduce this atrocious measure he was much astonished, for in the county which he had the honour to represent, the resident gentry, by kindness and persuasion, had succeeded in putting an end to Orange processions, though formerly those processions were so numerous as to extend over the whole of the county town. But by this aggression pointed directly against the only party in Ireland to which Government could look for support—those processions would be revived and those wounds which were almost healed up, would be opened afresh. The Bill would alienate the Orangemen from the Government; and although he should endeavour to keep them in that peaceable course from which he hoped they would never swerve, yet he feared that they would consider themselves so insulted and outraged that they would seek for means to evade this iniquitous enactment. Government had enough on their hands—quite enough—to occupy them after the prorogation of Parliament, and it ought not to increase its own business and add to its trouble. The right hon. Gentleman had enemies enough without bringing on his back the Orangemen of Ireland also. Let him, before he 1031 provoked their hostility, do his duty to the country. Let him put down the rebellion which was raging in Ireland. Let the Government make itself respected, and he would find no difficulty in quieting the Orangemen. The Orange processions were now more numerous than ever; and who had been the cause of this? The right hon. Gentleman himself. The Orangemen were determined, if they could do it by law, to exhibit all their force. It was not, however, for aggression that they meant to assemble; but they were determined to show his Majesty's Government that there was still a physical force of Protestants in Ireland; and that their enemies would not find it an easy matter to exterminate them. He trusted that the display of their power would not be attended with any breach of the law, nor any shedding of blood; but that it would operate as an encouragement to those Protestants who, desirous of avoiding the prospects now before them, either timidly withdrew from their country altogether, or, as another alternative, were prepared to throw themselves into the arms of the repealers. Let him, however, inform the right hon. Gentleman that it was a prevailing opinion that the Repeal of the Union was not the only object aimed at, but an entire separation of Ireland from this country; and. when that should be effected, there was a Leopold at hand. Such a course, he believed, was in contemplation; and as soon as the Repeal should be carried, a much greater and more formidable agitation, for the purpose of promoting that ulterior measure, would begin, He hoped that the right hon. Secretary would be compelled to withdraw a measure which was equally obnoxious and unjust.
was not disposed to complain of the length at which the hon. member for Sligo had addressed the House, because he thought that, if any one proof more conclusive than another could be adduced to show the necessity of the proposed measure, it might be found in the speech that hon. Member had addressed to the House. The combination between the Protestant member for Sligo, and the Catholic member for Kerry, was an extraordinary circumstance, and he must say, their combination led him to anticipate more benefit from the Bill than if it had not met the fierce hostility of both the extreme parties. The hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin had given his opinion, that the Bill was calculated to point out the processions it was intended to put down. The hon. member 1032 for Sligo, as well as the hon. Gentleman who had moved the Amendment, had shown that the Bill was directed against Orange lodges and Orange parties alone. If that were so, it was because the Orange lodges and Orange parties alone persevered up to the present moment, in endeavouring to keep alive that spirit of religious animosity which had led to so many sanguinary and fatal consequences in Ireland—a spirit which it had been the hope of the former Government—which it had been the hope of the present Government—would have been put an end to by the measure which had been passed for the relief of the Roman Catholics of that country. The hon. Gentleman, among other arguments which he adduced to prove that the measure now proposed was unnecessary and uncalled for, stated that to his knowledge Orange processions were gradually declining in Ireland. If, indeed, processions of that description were on the decline, how did it happen that the hon. Gentleman could take upon himself to assert, that the Orangemen were determined to collect on the 4th, and make a demonstration of their force, for the purpose not only of insulting their Roman Catholic fellow-citizens, but also of overawing the administration of the law? [Colonel Perceval—"No, no."] The hon. Gentleman certainly said, that it was the determination of the Orangemen to make a demonstration of physical force. He (Mr. Stanley) should have been glad if the party spirit, party meetings, and party processions, had subsided of themselves. He had entertained a hope that they would have done so; but in that hope he had been disappointed, and as experience proved, that they were increasing rather than diminishing, it became absolutely necessary that some decided act of the Legislature should be passed, to compel their discontinuance. By the official reports which had been received from various parts of Ireland, particularly from the province of Ulster, it appeared that during the years 1830 and 1831—the years in which it might most reasonably have been expected that these meetings and processions would have diminished, if not totally subsided—the Orangemen had assembled, and formed processions in greater numbers, and in a spirit of greater defiance to the Government and to their political adversaries, than on any preceding occasion. Indeed, the first letter that he received after his appointment was one conveying intelligence of the wrecking of a whole village in Armagh, in conse- 1033 quence of a procession of Orangemen, who appeared with party badges and party colours, marching to a party tune, for the purpose, and with the intent, of wantonly insulting their Roman Catholic fellow countrymen. The hon. Gentleman said, that Orangemen never shoot the Roman Catholics on those occasions, unless they are first attacked: that might be very true; indeed, he took it for granted that it was so, for it was impossible to conceive any country so sunk in brutality that bands of men should go through the country, and, without any provocation or previous insult, shoot the first person they met with. But the hon. Gentleman would not tell him, that if parties, prepared and armed for mischief, paraded through the country using every means to insult and exasperate a large body of the population, so as to provoke a large portion of the community to make an attack, and that, in repelling that attack, bloodshed and murder should ensue—he would not tell him, that the party first offering the insult was not the cause? But, if he should be of that opinion, perhaps the hon. Member would pay much more respect to two opinions of an eminent Judge in Ireland than to anything he could say. He would refer the hon. Member to two charges delivered, the one to the Jury of the county of Armagh, in 1829, and the other to the jury of the county of Donegal, in 1830, by Judge Jebb (who was not likely to be partial to the Catholics), and, particularly, he begged to call the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman—the laudator temporis acti—the lamenter of times gone by, never to come again—to what Judge Jebb said with regard to the law relating to these processions as they existed now and as they existed in former times. In the first place, he said, that those processions were not in themselves unlawful; that, at a former period, all classes cordially joined together publicly to celebrate the historical events they were intended to commemorate; and that there was nothing unlawful in this. But circumstances had since then occurred; which, together with the present aspect of the times, rendered it necessary that prudence should be consulted. 'My opinion is, said Judge Jebb, that the mere act of publicly celebrating a political event is not unlawful; but if a tendency to create riot, or breach of the peace result from it, then, indeed, it becomes unlawful.' But who, was to be the Judge of the tendency of these meetings to create riot, or of their 1034 tendency to a breach of the peace; and upon whose opinion and whose feelings were these processions to be deemed unlawful? In 1830, Judge Jebb laid down this doctrine:—'These meetings are in themselves lawful; but although these meetings or assemblies which in themselves without reference to the condition of the country, are lawful, yet they will become unlawful, if they are likely to tend to a breach of the peace. Although, therefore, the parties themselves may act lawfully, with reference to the assembling together to celebrate a political event, yet, if another portion of the community considers that what is the ostensible is not the real purpose for which the meeting was formed, but that the meeting was for the purpose of insulting them, and of irritating their minds, then the object of the meeting is changed, and the meeting itself becomes unlawful.' The legality or illegality of these processions, then, broadly laid down by Judge Jebb, depended not upon the intention of the parties celebrating these events—not upon their bona fide intention to celebrate a legal event in a legal manner—but upon the impression which these meetings produced upon the minds of others, and upon their conviction that the real object of the meetings was to insult their feelings and excite their animosity. That was a sound legal opinion; but it placed the Magistrates of Ireland in a situation of peculiar difficulty in deciding as to whether they should or should not be justified in prohibiting meetings of this description. Judge Jebb proceeded to say to the Jury, 'If you consider this meeting to be for the purpose of celebrating the new year, and that the Roman Catholics considered it was for the purpose of insulting them, then it would according to my opinion, be your duty to find the parties guilty.' Gentlemen on the other side might say—"if this be the law, there is no necessity for any new enactment." To that he answered, the necessity arose from the difficulty and delicacy of the situation in which the Magistrates might be placed; and that it was not less for the protection of the Magistrates than for that of the peaceable and well-disposed portion of his Majesty's subjects, that the Legislature should interpose, and enact that the nature and intention of these processions were such as, in the judgment of the Legislature constituted an illegal proceeding, and rendered the parties who attended them liable to be punished as for a misdemeanor. The hon. Gentleman asked, 1035 whether it was the intention of the Government to debar the people from celebrating festivals which were enjoined by the Church? His answer to that question was, that it was not necessary to attend at the Church, to celebrate a festival which that Church enjoined, with loaded muskets, with Orange badges—and with Orange flags, exhibited with an air of triumph and insult to the Roman Catholics. The present Bill prohibited no man from celebrating a festival, provided he did so without any manifestation of party spirit. The Bill would not interfere with any of the ordinary and peaceful processions of the people. The Dorking Queen might be crowned as usual at Dublin. The Bill was confined to religious processions calculated to excite irritation in other classes of the people. When the hon. Gentleman talked of those processions as religious festivals, commemorating a religious ceremony, he begged leave to ask, if the Liturgy prescribed the attendance of the Protestants at church with loaded muskets and party banners, and Orange badges, to excite the triumphal pride of one party and the indignant remembrances of defeat in the other? The Bill was strictly confined to processions calculated to excite religious animosity. It would prohibit no body of men from proceeding together to their Church provided they did so without the accompaniments of muskets, flags, and badges. The hon. Gentleman had asked why, before the present Bill was proposed, the Government did not proceed against the Political Unions in Ireland. If the hon. Gentleman would furnish him (Mr. Stanley) with proof of the illegality of those Unions, he would find him as ready to proceed against them as he or any other hon. Member could be. With regard to those Unions, his (Mr. Stanley's) opinion was now, as it had always been, that they were dangerous to the peace and to the internal Government of the country; but, at the same time, he believed that the best course of proceeding towards them, in the absence of every proof of their illegality, would be, to leave them to dissolve themselves. The hon. Gentleman asked, why not pursue the same course with respect to the Orange processions? His (Mr. Stanley's) reply to that was, that they had already attempted that remedy, and completely failed in it. Experience told them that Orange associations were not to be dissolved except by the strong arm of the law, that Orange parties would not voluntarily dissolve themselves; and 1036 that the Orange gentry would not exert themselves to procure that desirable end. That being the case, the object of the Government now was to put an end to all doubt upon the subject, and to declare by a positive enactment, that all meetings and processions such as had been described should for the future be deemed illegal, as dangerous to the public peace. The hon. Gentleman had spoken of the loyalty of the Orangemen of Ireland. He (Mr. Stanley) would put that loyalty to the test. Let a positive declaration of the Legislature be made—let the Act then proposed be passed—and then let it be seen whether that great and loyal party would be ready to obey the law when there could be no doubt as to what the meaning and intention of that law was—let it then be proved that these Orangemen were not indeed the blind and bigoted partisans of an expiring faction, which would be loyal just so far as it suited its own convenience and its own interests, and which would exert itself to maintain the peace of the country just so long us that peace could be preserved by the Government's placing implicit reliance on them, and on them alone. In making these observations, be begged it to be understood that he did not apply them to all Orangemen, nor to all Protestants—indeed he was far from considering those two terms as synonymous, although he believed that there were many who would be glad to have them so regarded. In conclusion, the right hon. Gentleman expressed his conviction of the absolute necessity of the enactment of some law to place the legality or illegality of the party processions of Ireland beyond all doubt. That they were originally legal had been determined by many able decisions of the best lawyers of Ireland; that they led to the most fatal consequences was proved by almost every day's experience; that it was, therefore, expedient to abolish them must, he apprehended, be obvious to every unprejudiced and well-thinking person. It was with that view that the present Bill had been introduced, and it was with that view that he should persist in pressing it upon the House.
explained, that he had not said, that the Orangemen were to meet to overawe the Government, or to insult their Catholic countrymen.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had stated, that the speeches which had been made on the Opposition side of the House, demonstrated the necessity of this 1037 measure. The speech which the right hon. Gentleman himself had just delivered, demonstrated that this measure was totally unnecessary. There had never been in Ireland any cessation of the irritating passions, occasioned by the severing principle of partial legislation. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of his (Mr. O'Connell) being the Catholic member for Kerry. He could not, of course, consider it offensive to be called a Catholic, because he was one; but he did not come there in the character of a Catholic, or the Representative of Catholics, he sat there the Representative of his countrymen, Protestants as well as Catholics, and it was his duty to take care of the interest of the one as much as that of the other. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of the combination between him and the hon. member for Sligo. He could tell him, that if that combination existed between all the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland, they should be too strong for him, and that it was their divisions that weakened them, and which constituted his power. These divisions were the result of bad governments, which at one time encouraged, and at another time struck down each party, and all this was done to remedy the blunders which Government bad already committed. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of the necessity of this Bill, and illustrated it by a reference to the wrecking of a village in the county of Armagh. But was there not law enough to punish the perpetrators of that outrage? And had his Majesty's Government to this hour punished a single individual? Not one; nor had they removed one single magistrate in the neighbourhood, although those excesses were perpetrated in open day, and of which ample evidence might be adduced. He contended that no case had been made out for this measure. What should be the first case? That there was not law sufficient to put down these mischievous processions. But if these processions were illegal, there was abundant law. The right hon. Gentleman had read Judge Jebb's charge, showing that they were illegal. What was it then, that prevented his putting them down? He had nothing more to do than to make the Magistrates act; and if he would make them act, he had quite sufficient law to put them down. But the Magistrates were a body of partisans, elected by the Lord-lieutenants of the counties, and were not within the salutary control of Government. By allowing the Magistrates to neglect their duties, the right hon. Gentleman felt 1038 compelled to appeal to this House for more legislation; but he had a right to say, that the right hon. Gentleman had contributed to the very evils he now sought to remedy. When he and his colleagues came into office, they found the Yeomanry of Ireland 25,000 strong, and had they not increased them to 30,000? Had they not put arms into hands which they now said it was unlawful to use? And now they called upon this House to establish a most dangerous precedent in Ireland, which a strong Government might hereafter imitate in this country, and for a similar purpose. Allusions had been made to the encouragement given by Orangemen to the repeal of the Union; but Ministers had to thank themselves if that feeling was now much stronger than it formerly was. There were but two kinds of processions in Ireland: Catholic processions on the 17th of March, and Orange processions on the 12th of July, and other days. Now as to the Catholic processions, this Bill was totally unnecessary, for this reason—because those processions were condemned by all the Catholics of Ireland who were at all influential in that country. It was only four or five years since they commenced: there were, therefore, no ancient prejudices in their favour, and he might venture to assert, that no man now imagined that there would be another such procession held in Ireland. Those processions were a base imitation of a bad custom, and had passed away entirely. There was no man, he would venture to say, who would tell this House he believed that another Catholic procession would ever take place. He did not believe it, it was impossible such should be the case; if, however, there should be any such processions, the magistrate ought to act against them. It would be their duty to do so, and therefore there was no necessity for this Act as against the Catholic procession. Then how stood the matter with regard to these Orange processions. These were for many years subject to no kind of jealousy with the Catholics; on the contrary, in the year 1782, the first volunteer corps which fired a salute before the statue of King William 3rd in Dublin, was the Irish Catholic brigade, commanded by the Marquess Wellesley. So far from any jealousy being entertained with reference to the events commemorated on that occasion, there was not a Catholic whom it did not rejoice to reflect that King William succeeded, and that King James was defeated. There was not a Catholic who did not hold the character of 1039 the former in the greatest respect, and regard the character of the latter with the greatest and most sovereign contempt; therefore there was no rational ground for these processions being considered as an insult to the Catholics. Then if he took a view of this question as it regarded the Orange party, he would say, that it certainly would be the better course to give up these processions; but his thorough conviction was, that infinitely greater mischief by this Bill would be done, than by any other measure which could possibly be adopted. If these processions were put down on particular days, it must be done by great vigilance, and at the risk of a breach of the peace; but supposing that they were put down on particular days, what would be the result? There would not be one single incident in the life of an Orangeman on which a procession would not take place. There would not be a marriage, or a funeral, but what would be made the occasion for a large assemblage of Orangemen. It was well known that most of the riots occurred at the funerals of Orangemen; and when these should be hereafter celebrated, there would be assemblages of 15,000 or 20,000 men. Could Government interfere to prevent these assemblages? And if not, this circumstance would be made an additional source of irritation to the anti-Orange party; so that, by this Act of Parliament to arrest these processions, instead of preventing bloodshed, bloodshed and slaughter would be promoted. Till he could be shown the case of some one punished for permitting what Judge Jebb called illegal processions, he could see no case for any further enactment. All that would be done by this Bill, would be to increase the bad spirit which existed between different parties in Ireland, by bringing them into daily and hourly collision. Particular processions might be prevented, but this very law would stimulate to similar processions. If Government wished the country to remain in a state of quiet, it must make the magistrates do their duty, it must compel them to act. If that were done, they would recommend the Orangemen so to conduct themselves, that there would be no breach of the peace. Then, looking to the Bill, one would suppose that the right hon. Gentleman intended to laugh at them. It was to put a stop to processions, "who shall wear and have amongst them any fire-arms, or other offensive weapons, or any banner, emblem, flag, or symbol, the display whereof may 1040 be calculated or tend to provoke animosity between his Majesty's subjects of different religious persuasions, or who shall be accompanied by any music of a like nature or tendency." Now he should like to know what kind of music it was which was of a like nature with a flag or banner?
said it was hardly fair for the hon. and learned Gentleman to comment upon a part of a sentence without reading the whole of it.
would read the whole:—"Whereas great numbers of persons belonging to different religious denominations, and distinguished respectively by various emblems, expressive of party feelings and differences, are in the practice of meeting and marching in processions in Ireland, upon certain festivals and anniversaries, and other occasions; and such processions are calculated to create and perpetuate animosities, and have been found to occasion frequent and sanguinary conflicts between different classes of his Majesty's subjects. For prevention thereof, and in order to guard against the recurrence of the tumults, riots, and disorders arising out of such proceedings; be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, that from and after the commencement of this Act, any body of persons who shall meet and parade together, or join in procession for the purpose of celebrating or commemorating any festival, anniversary, or political event, relating to or connected with any religious distinction or differences between any classes of his Majesty's subjects, or of demonstrating any such religious distinction or difference, and who shall wear and have amongst them any fire-arms, or other offensive weapons, or any banner, emblem, flag, or symbol, the display whereof may be calculated, or tend to provoke animosity between his Majesty's subjects of different religious persuasions, or who shall be accompanied by any music of a like nature or tendency, shall be, and be deemed an unlawful assembly, and every person present thereat shall be deemed to be guilty of a midemeanour, and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to be punished accordingly." Now that he had read the whole of the sentence, he asked what kind of music that was which was of the nature of banner-carrying? In fact, the attempt to scramble for a particular description, had rendered it necessary to use terms absurd in their nature. The Bill then went on to 1041 authorise a single magistrate to commit, fine, and imprison persons offending against its provisions, and all without appeal. The latter part of this Act might be abused: by it magistrates were to be made Judges in their own cause, so that this was an unconstitutional as well as an unnecessary law. He stood there subject to the taunt of having joined persons with whom he much differed; but although he did not believe in exclusive loyalty, every party in Ireland was entitled to the full protection of the Constitution, without having any of their rights trenched upon, unless a necessity were shown for it. He was glad that the hon. member for Sligo had said, that any efforts of his would be unavailing to get the Orangemen to join him, because it acquitted him of acting from any other motive than that which he was ready to avow and declare. It was a great object with him to conciliate the Orangemen, and reconcile them to their Catholic fellow-countrymen. That, from the commencement of his career, had been his leading object, and he knew that they never could succeed as long as they were battling for the civil rights which one party only possessed. That great battle won, he had thought that all differences should be reconciled, as it was the division between parties that prevented the growth of general prosperity. If the Orangemen rejected his overtures at conciliation, he must only be doubly anxious to protect their rights, feebly, for his talents would not allow him to do it otherwise, but honestly and conscientiously. Thus, then, he would say, that this law was perfectly unnecessary, and that the pretence for it had only arisen in consequence of the neglect of the Government to carry the old law into effect. The spirit of a great portion of the community could not be put down by any act of legislation, neither the public mind, nor the Orange spirit, could be conquered by legislation, and every attempt to do so made its strength more irresistible. That spirit might be managed, but could not be curbed, and therefore although a Catholic, he should support the Amendment before the House.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
said, surely the hon. and learned Gentleman could not have forgotten what took place in the Catholic Association, and the insinuations which various of its members there threw out? He could not have forgotten either his charges against the various governments of Ireland, that they neglected their duty, in not stopping these processions; whilst now 1042 that they did attempt to stop them, he objected to the mode in which it was attempted to be done, as unconstitutional. But this was a question not of the constitution, but of humanity, whether armed bodies of men were to be suffered, under the pretence of commemorating festivals, to insult their fellow-subjects in a way which led not only to tumult, but to loss of life? He (Mr. Grattan) had said the other night, that he could produce details of what he had stated; but when he looked into them, he was ashamed of the conduct by which both the south and the north of Ireland had been disgraced. A tumult had taken place in consequence of one of these processions, and two men were killed, opposite a house in which he was then staying. It had been of no use to prosecute parties guilty of these outrages, for juries would not convict them, simply on the ground that they were Orangemen. Many documents proved that these individuals would not obey the law, but had persevered in violating it, even when prohibited by the highest authority in Ireland. The hon. and learned member for the University of Dublin, asked where was the authority which prohibited these processions, but had he forgotten the proclamation of Sir Anthony Hart? The hon. member for Sligo said, that he ought to wait till after the 12th of July, but he must recollect, that although the Government did not issue the proclamations he spoke of, upon a request of a similar nature, in a former year, till the 18th of July, the attendance at these meetings was more numerous, and was accompanied with a greater display of banners and arms than upon any former occasion. The churches were decorated with orange-lilies, and sermons were preached upon the event the festival was intended to commemorate,—nay, clergymen were known to adorn themselves with beads, in mockery of their fellow-countrymen. With respect to the comment that had been made upon the expression of music being of a like nature with banner-carrying, he would say that it might not be of a like nature, and yet produce similar effects, for two parties had before now met with music, one playing "Protestant Boys," and the other "St. Patrick's Day," and yet ended the matter by a battle. He could not agree with the hon. and learned member for Kerry, that the Orangemen were likely to become much attached to him. He must confess he had never been able to get them to feel any love for him. The hon. Member might perhaps be 1043 inclined to go further than he had done; but he would most likely find, that they would sympathise with him as little at future elections as they had done with him (Mr. Grattan.) Both parties were now rendered equal by the Act of 1829, and he trusted that that good feeling which ought to prevail amongst all parts of a community, would yet be found to spring out of that Act.
Mr. James E. Gordon
had never been a friend to the Orange processions; but he could not divest them of the interest they created in his mind, from the events with which they were associated. Although he was not a friend to these processions, he must oppose this Bill. His first objection to it was, that it was a hypocritical Bill—because it professed to be intended to put down party processions in certain cases: whereas, its sole object was, to put down Orange processions. The right hon. Gentleman said, that it was directed against Orange processions, because they were of a religious character; but how could he prove that fact? It was true, that the persons composing these processions professed the Protestant religion; but they assembled to commemorate political events, which fixed the present Royal family on the Throne of Great Britain, and established principles to which every Englishman and Irishman ought to be attached; yet the House was to be told that these processions were made for the purpose of insulting the Catholics. He did not mean to say that there might not be exceptions; but, certainly, generally speaking, those processions had not been such as to deserve the reproach of being intended as insults to the Catholics. Indeed, most Catholics must admit, that there had been no instance in which such large bodies of men had assembled with consequences so little to be reprehended. He admitted that the aggressions of others had occasionally led to outrages to be regretted; but, looking to the provocations which had been given, no political bodies could be named so moderate, so temperate, so sober-minded, so inoffensive, as these. It was true that they had lately carried arms, but it had been for their own protection; and the numbers attending the processions had been augmented by unrighteous and partial legislation. The demonstrations spoken of, had not, then, been made for the purpose of insulting the Catholics, or overawing the Government. The right hon. Gentleman said, that no one had furnished 1044 him with legal proof of the Catholic meetings complained of; but had any one furnished him with legal proof of the Protestant meetings? Besides, the right hon. Gentleman himself admitted that there was nothing, in the abstract, illegal in their objects or movements. Indeed, it would be difficult to complain of the avowed objects of Orange processions, when assemblages of 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 Blackfeet and Whitefeet were allowed, in the county of Carlow, to superintend a tithe sale, and command that passive resistance of which so much had been said. Was that a legal object? Was it not an object of a much more objectionable nature than any ever avowed by the Orangemen? Another vice of the Bill was, that it was a bullying Bill; for it assailed a party not capable of defending itself, or whose loyalty was supposed to offer a sufficient guarantee for non-resistance to the Act. If he could discover the right hon. Gentleman attempting to pass a law to put down meetings held for unlawful purposes, opposing the law, and denouncing the Government itself, he should have some evidence of his impartiality; but, when he found the law brought to bear on a body of men who had not transgressed, and who had met only to celebrate the events in history, to which the whole country was indebted, under God, for the liberties it enjoyed, he would say, that this was a bullying and partial Bill. It had been said, that the best way of putting down the Political Unions was, to leave them to themselves; but experience had not shown that to be the case, for they had not yet taken the hint, and dissolved themselves. Now, those Unions, thus let alone, had certainly been more violent than ever the Orangemen of Ireland had been. Why should these allies of the Government, which the Government would not find it so easy to shake off as it imagined, be dealt with more leniently than the Orangemen? What he, as the friend of Ireland, wished was, to see the Government pursue a righteous and impartial system of legislation. Their present course of conduct might produce a serious reaction; the Orangemen were now strong in their loyalty, but they were no more than human beings, and had to struggle against all the infirmities and vices of human nature. Let the Government, then, be cautious lest their conduct should lead to disastrous results. The time at which this measure was brought forward was most unfortunate. The disaffected party in Ireland was actually 1045 making war against legislation and government of any kind. The right hon. Secretary alluded to the "bigoted partisans of an expiring faction" This was not the first, the second, or the third time the right hon. Secretary had held such language. He did not wish to describe what he felt upon this subject, for he should be obliged to use language which would certainly be thought that of a bigoted partisan; he would only now, therefore, express his regret that the Government should have interfered with the body of men whom this Act concerned. He was as great an enemy to Orange processions as the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but interference with them was uncalled for, and he looked upon the Orangemen of Ireland as an aggrieved body of men. The present attempt to repress their comparatively innocent movements and marchings was as imprudent with respect to time, as it was partial and unjust in a legislative point of view.
§ Mr. Shaw
, would not, at a late hour, trespass long upon the House, but could not suffer the discussion to close without protesting strongly against the measure of the right hon. Gentleman, and still more strongly against the speech with which that right hon. Gentleman had attempted to defend it. He would ask whether, at this moment, it was not the duty of an individual, in the high and responsible station of the right hon. Gentleman, rather to pour oil upon the troubled waters of Ireland, and to calm the agitation under which that unhappy country laboured, than to use language, above all other that he had ever heard, calculated to excite party spirit, and increase religious animosity? It was in vain for the right hon. Gentleman, under a consciousness of the mischievous effect which must naturally be produced by such language, to express a hope that he might not be misunderstood, or to rely upon his concluding disclaimer of that construction of his speech which every reasonable man who heard it must put upon it. Could it be doubted that the obvious tendency of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was, to encourage one party, against whom this measure was not intended, and to provoke the other, against whom the right hon. Gentleman admitted it was exclusively directed, to acts of insubordination, and an utter contempt of the Government? The course of this night's debate had afforded ample evidence of the partial and unjust principle of the Bill. It was first opposed by his hon. friends the members for the Univer- 1046 sity of Dublin and Sligo, as a measure aimed alone against the Orangemen of Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Kerry, then, in the character of a generous enemy, took up this cause, and declared that, even against his political opponents, he could not sanction such gross injustice; and, lest any question might remain as to the universal opinion of all parties on the subject, the hon. member for Meath supported it, expressly because it was meant exclusively to affect that body. If, indeed, this admitted of a doubt—from the wording of the Bill, from the fact of its not being introduced till after the 17th of March, and immediately before the 12th of July, from the view taken of it by those to whom he had alluded, the right hon. Secretary had taken good care to remove all doubt upon the point; for while, on the one hand, he announced that the Bill was not to interfere with any political object,—thus impliedly countenancing the political meeting of thousands and tens of thousands of Roman Catholics, which were held daily in Ireland to promote combinations against property, and in defiance of the law,—on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman told the House, that he only contemplated meetings of a religious character; and in that conciliatory tone for which he was remarkable, he added, "that the Orangemen of Ireland alone persist in keeping alive religious animosity." He stated, "that their only object in meeting was, to insult their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects and to defy the Government." He spoke of "brutality" in connexion with their conduct; he designated them as "the bigoted partisans of an expiring faction," and referring sarcastically to what he termed their "exclusive loyalty," with a taunt of defiance, but with very little regard to prudence or the peace of the country declared he would now "put their loyalty to the test." The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the existence of the Political Unions in England was inconsistent with good Government; and yet he had not the moral courage to grapple with them. He well knew that hundreds of thousands of Irish Roman Catholics were at this moment in insurrectionary movement, which threatened the peace of society and the safety of the State; and he did not dare to oppose or to control them, while he had the political meanness thus to attack a small and loyal body; he attacked them, because they were comparatively small in numbers, and because he ungenerously reckoned upon their very 1047 loyalty and known attachment to good order, as a security that they would not resist any law of the land, whatever might have been the intention of those who framed it: the truth was, an almost universal terror now pervaded the Protestants of Ireland. They saw meetings of their political opponents, with 40,000 or 50,000 persons assembled, and attended with every circumstance calculated to create alarm, pass unpunished and unnoticed. Within the last fortnight an extraordinary sensation had been produced by thousands running like madmen through the country, scattering what they called blessed turf, or ashes, and requiring, with an authority which was instantly recognised and obeyed, the Roman Catholic inmates of every house they visited, to distribute these symbols of a blind superstition in seven other houses; the higher orders of Protestants were trembling for their property; the lower, emigrating rapidly from a country where, under the present Government, they could find neither justice nor protection. In many parts of Ireland the poorer Protestants were literally afraid to lie down in their beds at night, and either slept by day, or under a guard which they kept up for their mutual defence; and still this was the opportunity the right hon. Gentleman took to subject them to the urgent pressure of this Bill. In itself the Bill was unintelligible; its legal absurdity had been ably exposed by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. O'Connell). The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley) alluding to the charge of Judge Jebb, observed how difficult it was to determine what had a tendency to provoke a breach of the peace. How then were the tendencies which this Bill rendered criminal to be defined; for example, who was to decide what music had "a tendency to provoke animosity?" The hon. member for Meath (Mr. Grattan) said, the "tune of Patrick's Day was an instance." How, then, would that hon. Gentleman reconcile this to the King's representative in Ireland having attended a procession on the 17th of March, accompanied by that very music? In short, the provisions of this Bill were totally irreconcileable with common sense, and by introducing it, the understandings of those who were to administer it were insulted. He would oppose it from first to last as unjust, partial and wholly inefficient.
§ Mr. Lambert
said, that, in his opinion, not only were the Government justified in bringing in this measure, but they were imperiously called on to pass it without the 1048 slightest delay. It was a measure of peace and goodwill on the part of the Government towards the people of Ireland, for which the Ministers deserved the greatest possible credit. He deeply regretted the opposition of his hon. and learned friend, the member for Kerry, by whom he expected the measure would have been received with that gratitude which it really deserved. He was surprised, too, that his hon. and learned friend should have imagined, by that opposition, he could reconcile parties who never could be united. But let not the Government hesitate; they would deserve and obtain the thanks of their country, if they persevered in their endeavour to overturn in Ireland every supremacy but the supremacy of the law. He hoped that this Bill might be passed with the greatest rapidity, in order to prevent the effusion of blood, which he anticipated would otherwise take place on the 12th of July.
Sir Robert Bateson
said, there was no danger that there would be any bloodshed on the 12th of July, if the Orangemen were left alone. He protested against this Bill as too partial. There were other societies which were engaged day and night in breaking the law, and yet the Government made no attempt to put them down. He complained, that the Bill, if it was necessary at all, had not been brought in earlier, instead of being postponed to the very eve of the day for the Protestant processions. He thought that circumstance an insult to that body.
Sir Edmund Hayes
wished to know why the right hon. Secretary called the Orangemen an expiring faction, when it appeared that their numbers had increased trebly within the last year. He insisted that they were the only body on which the Government could depend in case of emergency; they had before now proved themselves to be so, and it was unfair at this time to attempt to put them down. He thought this Bill was, at this time, most unwise and indiscreet, and would only tend to aggravate the evils complained of, instead of diminishing them, and to create and extend that alienation of feeling which existed between the people and the Government.
§ Mr. Maurice O'Connell
said, that he could not allow the Question to be put, without stating what were his motives for the vote he should give on this occasion; and he should take the less time in so doing, as he had expressed his opinions pretty explicitly when the right hon. Secretary had moved for leave to introduce this 1049 Bill. On that occasion, he had waived his opposition in order to allow the Bill to be printed; and, now that it was before the House, he must say, that he did not feel his aversion to the measure in the least diminished. He considered this, in the first place, to be an unnecessary measure, for the law at present armed the Magistrate with sufficient powers to disperse any assembly from which danger to the public peace was apprehended; and, in the next place, he conceived it would be useless, because the carrying the Bill into effect was confided to those very persons whom the right hon. Secretary had himself complained could not be prevailed on to act for the dispersion c such assemblies. "See what you do (said the hon. and learned Gentleman)—you set forth, that the Magistrates in the north of Ireland will not act against Orange processions—you tell us, a new law is wanting to put down such processions—you bring forward the project of this law, and you thereby commit the abatement of the nuisance to the very hands which you stat have fostered the evil, and whose culpable inactivity forms the reason for at all introducing such a measure. On the Bill itself I shall not trouble the House any longer but wish merely to address a few words to my hon. friends, the member for Meat and the member for Wexford. The former of these Gentlemen has taxed the hot member for Kerry with a departure from the principles of a certain defunct and much calumniated body, "the Catholic Association," by his conduct on this occasion. I, Sir, had been, and it shall always be my proudest boast, an original member of the body; I continued a member thereof until its final extinction; I was a pretty close attendant on its meetings, and took some share in its proceedings, and, therefore, must be supposed to know something more of the principles which actuated its members, as well as its actual measures, than the hon. Gentleman, who, I believe never honoured us with his presence, an whose name does not appear in any list of the members of the Association. Sir, I deny that the Catholic Association ever called for a new law to put down these procession I maintain that they held, as the hot member for Kerry does, that the laws them as now, in force, were quite sufficient to effect that object: and I assert, without fear of contradiction, that all they ever demanded was, that those laws might be actively, but impartially, administered. As for the statement of the hon. Gentleman, 1050 about decorating churches, and his complaints of sundry sermons pronounced and preached by Orange clergymen, I lament them as much as he can. But how will this Bill remedy that evil? It does not say a single word about churches; it does not hint either at sermons; and it leaves the parson quite as unrestricted as to his demeanour as he was before. But, having done with argument, the hon. Gentleman comes to advice, and he warns the hon. member for Kerry not to seek to conciliate the Orangemen as he must fail, "for," says the hon. Gentleman, "I could never get them to fall in love with me." Now, Sir, without any disrespect to the hon. Gentleman, I may be allowed to trust, that possibly the manners of the hon. member for Kerry may be a little more popular than his, and to suggest, that it may be as well to permit that Gentleman to persevere in his laudable attempt at conciliation, even though so great a master of the human heart as the hon. member for Meath should have failed in procuring the Orangemen to vote for him. I turn next, Sir, to my hon. friend, the member for Wexford; and I must say, that I have seldom heard a speech in this House which gave me more pain than part of that hon. Gentleman's short address. Sir, though I vote against this Bill, I cannot enter into the sentiments of most of the Gentlemen who have spoken from this side of the House. I do not agree with them in their notions of the excessive and exclusive loyalty of the Orangemen; and I must disapprove of the evidently party, and I had almost said factious, spirit which has prevailed throughout their addresses; but, Sir, while I disapprove of them, I cannot but regret that my hon. friend should not only have followed so bad an example, but should have, by what has fallen from him, given occasion to such demonstrations of that unhappy spirit on his side of the House. I had hoped, that he would have considered this question, not as a religionist, but as a senator, and I grieve to find that I am disappointed. Sir, the complaint of the Catholics of Ireland for many years has been, that while Protestants admitted their merits in private, they industriously deprived them of all opportunities of showing in public, that the language of the Orangemen in particular was much such as that used by my hon. friend. "In private you are estimable; as men we respect and admire you; but when you come to act as Catholics and politicians, you lay by all feeling, all humanity, nay, almost all de- 1051 cency." Such, Sir, was our complaint, and being so, it afflicts as well as surprises me, that my hon. friend should have condescended to take up the cast off invective of our adversaries. But, Sir, there is something of absurdity conveyed by the hon. Gentleman's arguments. He reprobates a Repeal of the Union; he expresses his hope that the Orangemen will not join the hon. member for Kerry in advocating that measure: and, in order to prevent such a combination, he votes for the very measure the carrying of which is stated by the Orangemen to be the only event which can urge them to that unnatural alliance. Really, Sir, I cannot but feel some surprise that so clear-headed a person as my hon. friend should have allowed himself to be betrayed into such a blunder. I shall not detain the House any longer than merely to re-state, that I oppose this Bill as unnecessary, as, in a great degree useless, and as affording another instance of the cruel and inconsiderate manner in which it has been the practice to legislate for Ireland."
declared he had strong and insurmountable objections to this measure, because he thought it would be extremely unjust and partial in its operation.
Mr. Henry Maxwell
said, he had been instructed to present the Petition of the Orange Lodges of Ireland against the Bill. He had not obtained an opportunity of doing so; but the petition which he held in his hand maintained, that the course they pursued was perfectly legal, and that the Lodges assembled for perfectly justifiable and constitutional purposes.
§ Captain Jones
also declared, that the conduct of the Orangemen of Ireland was perfectly legal; and he thought the Bill would be productive of the most injurious effects in the north of Ireland.
§ Mr. Anthony Lefroy
opposed the Bill. It was bad as a measure of policy at any time, and particularly objectionable at the present moment.
§ The House divided on the Amendment—Ayes 29; Noes 110: Majority 81.
|List of the AYES.|
|Bateson, Sir R.||Ferguson, Sir R.|
|Best, Hon. W.||Fitzgerald, Sir A.|
|Bridges, Sir T.||Fox, S.|
|Castlereagh, Lord||Gordon, James E.|
|Clements, Col.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Cole, Lord||Ingestrie, Lord|
|Cole, A.||Jones, Captain|
|Conolly, Colonel||Kemmis, Captain|
|Courtenay, T. P.||Knox, T.|
|Fane, Colonel||Lefroy, T.|
|Maxwell, H.||Shaw, F.|
|O'Connell, M.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Ossory, Lord||Tullamore, Lord|
|Pringle, T.||Lefroy, T.|
|Ruthven, E. S.||O'Connell, D.|
§ House went into Committee.
§ Colonel Perceval moved, that the Chairman should report progress.
agreed to the Motion, on the understanding that no discussion should take place upon the motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair, on a future evening.
§ House resumed—Committee to sit again.