§ "15th February, 1833,
§ "SIR—We the Master, Deputy Master, and Secretary of 1458 Orange Lodge, of the 16th Company Royal Sappers and Miners, having in August, 1831, taken out the above warrant from the county of Antrim Grand Lodge, we are increasing in number, and wish to be supplied with any information which the Grand Lodge from time to time sends to our other country brethren. The regulations not pointing out any means for Military Lodges holding communication, we have therefore come to the resolution of applying by letter to you for instruction which will be most thankfully received. From the peculiar nature of our duty, we do not remain long in any place; therefore, your answering this as soon as possible will confer a lasting obligation on your most obedient, humble servants and brethren, William Scott, Master; Daniel Rock, Deputy Master; Edward Dixon, Secretary."
§ "William Scott, 16th Company Royal Sappers and Miners.
§ "That the committee would most willingly forward all documents connected with the Orange system to any confidential person in Ballymena, as prudence would not permit that printed documents be forwarded direct to our military brethren [cheers]. "W. J."
§ "In reply to this is a letter from Mr. Scott, dated 18th February, stating, 'I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, and take this opportunity of expressing my thanks for the kind and gentlemanly manner in which you have answered last month's letter. I trust you will be kind enough to convey the thanks of the brethren of No. 1458, to the committee of the Grand Lodge, for their prompt consideration of our business, as well as for the interest they have shown in our welfare. The parcel, containing the papers, &c,can be directed to Mr. Andrew Crosbie, saddler, who is a faithful brother, and can be depended on'" [cheers].
The 9th Resolution he should offer to the House was as follows:—
That the general orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the forces (Parliamentary
Paper, No. 395 of 1835) addressed in the years 1822 and 1829, to Commanding Officers of regiments and of dépôts, and to general Officers and other officers on the staff at home and abroad, strongly reprobate the holding of Orange Lodges in any regiment, as "fraught with injury to the discipline of the army;" and, 'that on military grounds the holding of Orange Lodges in any regiment or corps, is contrary to order and to the rules of the service;' and, 'that a disregard of this caution will subject offending parties to trial and punishment for disobedience of orders.'
§ The "General Orders" were already before the House, but he thought it necessary to recall the attention of the House to them by reading them.
§ No. 2.
§ (Copy) (Confidential).
§ Circular Letter from the Adjutant-General, dated 1st July, 1822 (Addressed to Officers commanding regiments of Cavalry and Infantry at home and abroad, East Indies excepted).
§ Horse-Guards, 1st July, 1822.
§ Sir,—Reports having reached the Commander-in-Chief that measures are taken in some regiments to promote the establishment of Orange Lodges, and that in certain instances Commanding Officers have been solicited to permit soldiers to receive diplomas for holding such Lodges, his royal Highness desires that you will state, for his royal Highness's information, whether any attempt of this description has been made in the regiment under your command, as his royal Highness cannot too strongly reprobate a practice so fraught with injury to the discipline of the army.
§ I have, &c.
§ (Signed) H. TOREENS, Adjutant-General.
§ No. 3.
§ Circular Letter from the Adjutant-General, dated 14th November, 1829. (Addressed to Commanding Officers of regiments and dépôts, and to General and other Officers on the Staff, at home and abroad.
§ Horse Guards, 14th November, 1829.
§ Sir, — In consequence of circumstances which have recently come to the knowledge of the General Commander-in-Chief, his Lordship has directed me to transmit to you a duplicate of the circular issued on the 1st of July, 1822, by his late royal Highness the Duke of York, and to call your attention to the necessity of strict conformity to it, and of the exercise of the utmost vigilance on your part, to prevent the introduction, or the existence in the regiment under your command, of the practice therein adverted to, and which was so justly reprobated by his royal Highness as "fraught with injury to the discipline of the army."
§ In making any inquiry with a view to ascertain whether any Orange Lodges have been 80 made in the regiment under your command, you will cause it to be clearly understood by the men, that the investigation has become necessary on military grounds, and that they will not be exposed to any reflection or disgrace on account of being Orangemen, but that their meetings being contrary to order, and to the rules of the service, cannot be permitted, under any pretence. Finally, that their disregard of this caution will subject them to trial and punishment for disobedience of orders.
§ Having laid these facts before the House he would ask, could it be believed that his Majesty was aware of them? The noble Lord ought to take his Majesty's opinion on the subject. The Duke of Cumberland did not issue the warrants with his own hands; the blank warrants were put before him, and he signed them; but there was an engraven memorandum at the bottom, and he would ask whether that was there at the time of the signature? He was informed that Lord Hill knew nothing of this matter, and that three years ago he did institute an inquiry. Colonel Dixon put down an Orange Lodge in his regiment; but he did not do so till he found there existed in it a Ribband Society also. He tolerated the Orange Lodge till he found the redaction.
The 10th and 11th Resolutions, which he had to move, were the following:—
That these Resolutions, and the evidence taken before the Select Committee on Orange Lodges, be laid before his Majesty.
That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, praying that he will be graciously pleased to direct his Royal attention to the nature and extent of Orange Lodges in his Majesty's Army, in contravention of the general orders of the Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty's Forces, issued in the years 1822 and 1829, which strongly reprobate and forbid the holding of Orange Lodges in any of his Majesty's regiments; and also to call his attention to the circumstances of his Royal Highness Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, a Field Marshal in his Majesty's army, having signed warrants, in his capacity of Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland (some of them dated so recently as April in the present year,) which warrants have been issued for constituting Orange Lodges in the army.
§ The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his first Resolution.
§ The Question having been put by the Speaker,
§ Mr. Wilson Patten
said, he intended to move an Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, and in doing so be must express his surprise at 81 the manner in which the hon. Gentleman had introduced his resolutions to the House. If ever there was a farce, the present proceeding was one. This subject was referred to a Select Committee, while the Committee were proceeding with their inquiry, the House was put into possession of part of the evidence, which did not amount to half; and the hon. Gentleman availing himself of this portion brought forward resolutions on which he grounded attacks on the characters of individuals. He would ask was that fair? Would the House consent to come to a resolution on the subject, on the statement of the hon. Gentleman? In his opinion they should reserve their decision till the whole of the evidence was before them. If they were prepared to adopt the course recommended by the hon. Gentleman, in his opinion the Committee might as well at once conclude its labours; indeed, it would be quite farcical for them to sit a day longer. Nothing, however, which the hon. Member for Middlesex had said, should induce him to enter fully upon the whole snbject; for that was a course which he should deem highly improper. From the nature of the Motion which the hon. Member had given, he certainly had understood that it was his intention to limit himself to that portion of the subject which related to the existence of Orange Military Lodges; and that portion of it he was perfectly willing to discuss. The hon. Member could not go beyond him in abhorrence of that system, he thought it unfair and indefensible, as not only undermining the discipline of the army, but also endangering the liberty of the subject. He regretted, however, that other matters, had excited the same feeling of jealousy on the part of the hon. Member; but he did think that before the hon. Member had taken the course he had, he should have endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the circumstances relating to all secret societies existing in the army, and not have shown a disposition exclusively to inquire into one class. For his part, then, he could not but express a hope that those other societies might be included in the resolution. A portion of the evidence had been alluded to on the subject of the existence of Riband societies in the army; the Committee had examined many individuals of the highest respectability—among them, two Lord-lieutenants of counties, several magistrates 82 and Sir Frederick Stovin, the chief of the constabulary of the province of Ulster —on this subject; for a belief had certainly prevailed with many of its members that such societies did exist. He confessed, however, when he came to the evidence of these gentlemen, all the belief which he himself had entertained to that effect fell entirely to the ground. Sir Frederick Stovin said he had paid great attention to that subject—that he possessed the fullest means of investigating it with the whole of the constabulary of Ulster at his command; yet that he had never arrived at the knowledge of the existence of the system. They had now, however, proof of the most clear and distinct kind that Riband Societies existed in the very district over which Sir F. Stovin presided —such was the secrecy which attended them. On that ground he felt that the system of ribandism was still more dangerous than that of Orange Lodges, inasmuch as the secrecy of its constitution had totally baffled all attempts to inquire into it. With the evidence, however, which the House had of its existence, he thought that there could be no disposition to include it within the scope of the Resolution. He now came to the subject of the last Resolution, in which reference was was made to an illustrious Duke, and the share which he was supposed to have taken in the promotion of Orange Lodges. He begged to state he was not there either as the defender or accuser of that illustrious individual, and that he should not be deterred from expressing his conscientious opinion upon the subject. He did feel that the House must deal with all parties of high or low station with equal justice and he thought that it would be an act of gross injustice to imply an accusation against that illustrious Duke before they had gone fully into the evidence which might be brought before the Committee with the view of explaining his connexion with the system. There was one witness not yet examined, who, as he had been given to understand, would supply some valuable information on that point. The statements of the hon. Member for Middlesex, when made public, were calculated to produce an impression prejudicial to many private individuals and public characters, and thus to prejudge the case. He would only repeat, that he did not think it was fair to enter into a full discussion of the whole subject before 83 the House was in possession of all the evidence which might be adduced upon it. When the proper time came he should be ready to take a part in the discussion of it, and to express his opinions. He should now move, as an Amendment, that all the Resolutions which the hon. Gentleman proposed should be omitted, with the exception of a portion of the last; or that the Motion should be to this effect:— "That an address be presented to his Majesty, praying him to direct his royal attention to the nature and extent of Orange Lodges existing in his Majesty's army, in contravention of the general orders issued in 1822 and 1829, and also to cause investigation to be made into the existence of other secret societies."
§ Mr. Finn
proceeded to address the House, and said that Orangeism had increased in England and Scotland to a degree which hon. Members were not aware of, and which would soon compel them to look at home. He held in his hand the book of Laws and Ordinances of the Grand Orange Lodges of Great Britain, published under the authority of the Grand Master, the Duke of Cumberland. The hon. Member then proceeded to read some extracts from the pamphlet in question, commenting upon them as he went along. These rules and ordinances were directed against the encroachments of the Catholics in the United Kingdom, and were for the most part the same as those of the Orange Lodges in Ireland. And this was all to protect the Protestant religion. These rules and ordinances were a mockery and an outrage against all the principles of the Christian religion. The fee of admission into these lodges was 15s., except in the case of soldiers and sailors—when the fee was to be at the discretion of the meeting. Did the Duke of Cumberland know nothing of the resolution remitting the fee for soldiers and sailors? The hon. Member then read the Report of the proceedings of a meeting of the Grand Lodge, held at the House of Lord Kenyon, in Portman-square, at 84 which the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Gordon, Lord Wynford, the Bishop of Salisbury, and others, attended. On this occasion an address was presented to the Duke of Cumberland, beginning, "May it please your Royal Highness, we your dutiful subjects." This address then went on to assert the loyalty of the subscribers to the King's authority—and to proclaim the rights of the King to discharge his Ministerial advisers, and select new ones, as he thought proper—and finally denounced the schemes of disturbance which the party called the Destructives were then hatching. Amongst other proceedings on this occasion was a communication read from the Grand Master of Rochdale, reporting that three of the Orange body had voted for the Whig candidates at the late election, contrary to the standing orders of the society, and recommending accordingly that they should be expelled from the Lodge, which was agreed to, and decreed as a wholesome example to others. Amongst other doctrines sent forth by the Grand Orange Lodge of Great Britain was one that it was expedient that they should always be consulted upon the election of Conservative candidates for Parliament, because, through means of their corresponding lodges, they knew the political sentiments and merits of every man in the country. The hon. Member concluded by calling upon the people of England to strangle this infamous system, and prevent its further growth in the country.
said, he would not follow the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down into the history of the system of Orange Lodges, because that was not the question before the House. He would apply himself to that part of the question which related to the army. The hon. Member seemed to think that the Duke of Cumberland must be aware of the existence of the Orange system in the army. He could only say, that he met the Duke of Cumberland yesterday, when his Royal Highness assured him that he invariably signed the warrants in blank, and was not aware, in most cases, how they were filled up; and, moreover, that on some occasions, when he had been asked to transmit some of these warrants for the use of the regiments of the line, he had invariably refused. To show how the army viewed this subject, he would mention that a few mouths back three men 85 were tried by Court Martial in Ireland for the offence of having joined in an Orange procession, contrary to the standing orders against such proceedings.
§ Mr. Henry Maxwell
said, that he did did not rise so much in consequence of the call that had been made upon him by the House, as to answer the question that had been put to him by the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. Hume). The hon. Member for Middlesex, in the course of his speech, read a copy of a warrant for holding an Orange Lodge, and it was inferred by him, in consequence of a note appended to the warrant, that his Royal Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, could not plead ignorance of the use that was to be made of the warrant, inasmuch as the note points out that it is a "marching warrant." The hon. Member (Mr. Hume) had asked him (Mr. Maxwell) to inform the House whether or no the note was attached to the warrant when it received his Royal Highness's signature? In reply, he begged to state, that no such note was engraved on the warrants. He would explain, in a very few words, the reason why the note appeared at all. He (Mr. Maxwell) was one of those appointed by the Committee to select the papers that were to form the appendix to the Report, and he was requested to explain the difference that existed between a "marching warrant" and an ordinary one, and he wrote the note at the foot of one of the warrants, in order that the Committee and the House might have the necessary instructions; but no such note was in point of truth attached to the warrants at all; and, therefore, as the bon. Member's reasoning was unsupported by facts, his Royal Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, must be acquitted of the charge brought against him of having knowingly issued warrants for the purpose of establishing Orange Lodges in the army. He was himself one of the persons who signed the warrants, and he declared, in the most solemn manner, that, until it transpired, in the course of the inquiry, that Lodges did exist in the army, he was not in the slightest degree aware of the circumstance. He trusted the explanation he had given of the manner in which the note came to be appended to the warrant would be considered satisfactory by the House. With respect to the objects of the Orange Institution generally, he was prepared to enter into its defence when the proper time arrived; but he did not 86 think this the proper opportunity for so doing. He had been now for several years a member of the Institution—he had been a constant attendant at the sittings of the Committee, and he had no hesitation in stating that, during the protracted inquiry that had taken place, nothing had been elicited that in the least changed his opinion with respect to the Institution. When he said this, he did not mean to extend his observations to the introduction of Orange Lodges in the army. He would again repeat which he did with the utmost sincerity, that until he heard of the circumstance, in the course of the inquiry, he was not aware of their existence in the army. The Orange Institution courted inquiry; and he was himself the individual who seconded the hon. Member's (Mr. Finn's) Motion for the appointment of the Committee. He denied that the witnesses were unwilling witnesses. They were the officers of the Institution, and had produced freely and unreservedly before the Committee all the books and documents connected with the Institution.
§ Mr. Ward
hesitated not to say, that if the House consented to the Amendment which had been proposed, they would shrink from the performance of their duty. After the inquiry instituted to examine into the state of Orange Lodges had proceeded a considerable way in the investigation, it was ascertained that the system had been introduced into the army, and prevailed to a considerable extent. The facts relating to this part of the subject had, as far as they went, been fairly stated by the hon. Member for Middlesex, whose speech gave a fair specimen of the whole of the evidence which would ultimately be submitted to the House; and the Resolutions which the hon. Member had proposed, naturally arose out of these facts, and were founded on them. This organized plan of Orange Lodges had, it appeared, extended itself to regiments in Canada and Malta, and the Grand Committee of the Society expressed their satisfaction at the cheering accounts which they had received from the regiments in those quarters. What right, he asked, had the Orange Lodges thus illegitimately and unconstitutionally to interfere with the British soldier, and convey an insinuation into the minds of these men that a private association of this description could in any way influence their welfare, and, perhaps, in opposition to their military 87 duty, serve their country. It was the bounden duty of Parliament to make known these proceedings to the constitutional Sovereign of the realm, though they did not of course suggest what steps should be taken in order to put an end to them. There had been a meeting at Lord Kenyon's, at which his Royal Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, presided, at which it was determined that a certain sum of 15s. should be paid on taking out a warrant for forming Lodges, but by which a special exception was made with respect to non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and sailors, whose admission fee was left to the discretion of the Committee. And yet the Illustrious Duke professed his ignorance of the existence of this system in the army. Accompanying this circumstance with the number of these warrants which were issued, as a conscientious man he could not entertain a doubt that his Royal Highness must have been aware that many of them were applied to the formation of Orange Lodges in the army. He did not, he reiterated, doubt for a single moment, that his Royal Highness must have been aware of the circumstance. The assertion that he had only signed blank warrants did not at all relieve his Royal Highness from the charge that he knew the purpose to which they were to be applied. He should like to know whether his hon. Friend near him, the Member for London, would consider himself justified in signing checks, and after having committed them to the hands of his clerks, plead ignorance of the objects of them. Or would the hon. and gallant Member opposite(Colonel Perceval) consent, in his Magisterial capacity, to issue warrants, and, after having done so, declare that he was not responsible for the consequences? Besides, these Lodges were now become general; the meeting at Lord Kenyon's to which he had already referred, was held for the purpose of organizing them; and there might now be for aught any person knew except the Orange Committee, a dozen Lodges in the guards of London, or on board his Majesty's ships at Plymouth, and they had as yet no means of checking the evil. It was even insinuated that the House were now called on to connive at this system, instead of opposing and denouncing it. He had a perfect horror of all illegal societies whatever in the army. He felt himself well qualified to judge of their 88 effects, it having been his fate to have spent some years in countries during the process of revolution. God forbid that he should say that there was another country undergoing that process, though he could not declare such a result to be impossible, if such practices as these were allowed to be continued in the army. The spirit which gave rise to this was, he was persuaded, the main spring of all the jealousies, heart-burnings and distractions, to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman's (Colonel Perceval's) own country was subjected. Look at it pervading the yeomanry in that country, who could not be employed for the protection of life or property, without insuring a violent exertion of authority on the one side, and a connivance at any misconduct or outrage which might be committed on the other. The system was now spreading through the army, and it already pervaded the bar and the bench in that country. Look again at the effects which, in such a country, must be produced by the declarations contained in a letter lately published of a right reverend Prelate, the Chaplain of the Orange Lodges, in which he spoke of "the indelible hostility of Popery to the Established religion." See what feelings of distrust and animosity must have been awakened by this assertion, in the breasts of those who were called Orangemen, against a large and most valuable portion of their countrymen. "Be active," (continued this man of peace) "and never suffer popery to regain its ascendancy." He trusted "Popery" never would; but this he would add, that as he possessed freedom in civil and religious rites himself, he was unwilling that the same privileges should be withheld from his Catholic fellow subjects. Believing then that the Lodges were actively progressing in England as well as in Ireland; having conclusive evidence before him of that fact, he did not hesitate to aver, that the hon. Member for Middlesex had done his duty as a Member of that House, and as an honest man, in fully and freely exposing this system (which was proved to prevail) to the country. He concluded by expressing his conviction that the House would be guilty of a dereliction of duty if, from false delicacy or fear, they delayed in assenting to the Resolution.
§ Colonel Perceval
was not surprised at the strong terms of reprobation in which the hon. Member for St. Alban's (Mr. 89 Ward) had spoken of the Orange Institution, as it appeared that he had given more credence to the anonymous statements put forth in the Dublin newspapers than he was willing to accord to the evidence taken before the Committee of which he (Mr. Ward) was a member. He had read with the closest attention the voluminous Report of the evidence taken before that Committee, and he was able to trace throughout the whole this important fact, and it was supported by the concurrent testimony of all the witnesses, namely, that the Orange Institution was altogether a defensive society; and sure he was, that if the Ribbon Society, which Sir Frederick Stoven was too blind to see, though it existed under his nose; if that society were put down—if the Roman Catholic Association, which had subsequently appeared under so many different names— such as an Anti-Tithe Association, the Anti-Tory Association, and the Franchise Association—if all these societies were given up, and that the Protestants had security for their lives, the Orange Association would ipso facto cease to exist. The hon. Member who had just sat down, as well as the hon. Gentleman who introduced the subject, had attributed all the bloodletting and atrocities which had been perpetuated in Ireland to the existence of Orange Lodges. How, he would ask, did it come to pass that in the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, and Tipperary — in these very counties where atrocities were continually in the habit of being committed at which human nature shuddered —how did it come to pass, that scarcely an Orange Lodge was to be found there? And yet, according to the hon. Member's statement, the Orange Institution was to be charged with the perpetration of all these crimes, though, in reality, there were no Orangemen in these districts. The fact was, as he before stated, that the Orange Institution was in its essence purely defensive—it was not opposed to, or was it hostile to, Roman Catholics. He would appeal to his hon. Friend, who was chairman of the Committee (Mr. Wilson Patten), and who had been most constant in his attendance, whether it did not appear in evidence that a man, for his hostility to a Roman Catholic, was proved to be ineligible to be admitted a Member of the society. He had, on a former occasion, stated that the society was not in its essence a secret society; and he, at that 90 period, took upon himself to promise, that the institution would submit all their books and documents to the most minute scrutiny. He did not at the time feel warranted in stating that the signs and pass-words would be given up; but, however, the Orangemen had, much to their credit in his opinion, exposed their signs and pass-words to the Committee; even those he repeated, had not been kept back, and he now defied all those who were not wilfully hostile to the institution, to prove that it was not purely of a defensive nature. It was notorious — it had been proved before the Committee and in the courts of justice, that societies existed in Ireland whose object was the extirpation of the Protestants—and while such societies existed, was it to be expected that the Orangemen would abandon a confederacy which had its origin in self-defence, and was kept up with no other view? The Orangemen of Ireland were ready not only to support the law, but to conform to the law—they were ready to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, for the purpose of maintaining the present Royal Family on the Throne; but, if treasonable societies were allowed to exist in defiance of the law, the Protestants of Ireland could scarcely be blamed for combining for their own defence. He would say put down effectually the treasonable societies, and the Orangemen would dissolve themselves. It had been proved that these really secret and treasonable societies existed in the army. They existed in the 64th regiment, and so far from their having followed the establishment of Orange Lodges—the Orange Lodge, it was proved, was established with a view to counteract the influence of the Ribbon Lodge, which was previously in existence. Now he never did advocate—on the contrary, he always condemned the establishment of political societies in the army. He was one of those whose duty, as an officer of the Grand Lodge, it was to sign the warrants. He succeeded his lamented Friend, Sir Henry Brooke, as grand treasurer of the institution. The warrants were signed in blank by his Friend Mr. Maxwell and himself, they were then sent in numbers, varying from fifty to two hundred, to his royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, who, seeing Mr. Maxwell's and his (Col. Perceval's) signatures to them, signed them also and forwarded them to the Grand Lodge of Ireland to be 91 applied strictly according the rules of the institution. His Royal Highness, therefore, knew no more of the manner in which the warrants were disposed of than the hon. Member for Middlesex himself. I (said Colonel Perceval) declare, on the honour of a gentleman, that I, who signed the warrants, never heard, until it transpired in the Committee, that Orange Lodges existed in the Army; and when I did hear it, I condemned it as strongly as the hon. Member for Middlesex or any other hon. Member. He would now state a fact, in order to show what his opinion had been, many years ago, on the subject. He had the honour of commanding the Sligo regiment in the year 1812, which at the time was stationed at Chelmsford. At that period he was not an Orangeman, nor did he become one till 1832, though previously to that time he had been frequently taxed in that House with being one. In 1812, Orange Lodges existed in almost all the Irish militia regiments; and, at the time he alluded to, when he assumed the command of the regiment, the Master of the Orange Lodge in the Sligo regiment died; there was some discussion in the regiment as to who was to succeed him, but the way he managed was this: he took the warrant and the paraphernalia and sent them all off to Ireland, and gave strict orders that no Lodge should be formed in the regiment. With regard to a noble Friend of his (Lord Cole) not now in town, the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) accused his noble Friend with having established Orange Lodges in his regiment, and called upon his Majesty's Ministers to dismiss him. Now what were the facts of the case. The warrants it is true, were originally issued to the Fermanagh militia; they had been dormant for upwards of eighteen years, and though originally issued to the regiment, were not now regimental warrants at all. Some persons residing in the neighbourhood of Florence-Court, were desirous of establishing a Lodge; and the closer the number of the warrants approach to number one, the higher is the value which is set upon them; and Lord Cole applied to the Grand Lodge for those dormant warrants which bore the numbers 415 and 1433, and his request was granted, and Lodges are now held under them in the county of Fermanagh, composed of persons, with the exception of one individual, who had never been in the Army at all. The facts 92 of the case, the House would see, did not warrant the imputation cast upon his noble Friend by the hon. Member for Middlesex. That hon. Member had read such portion of the Duke of York's orders to the Army as suited his purpose, but he neglected to read that portion of it which distinctly stated that the fact of being an Orangeman, would not be considered as an imputation upon any man. With the concluding portion of that letter he (Colonel Perceval) cordially concurred, inasmuch as he highly disapproved of the existence of Lodges in the Army. He begged leave to corroborate the statement that had been made by his hon. Friend (Colonel Wood) with respect to the ignorance of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, as to the fact of Orange Lodges having crept into the Army. He had the authority of his Royal Highness to inform the House, that on one occasion only, was a proposition submitted to him for the establishment of a military Lodge, and his Royal Highness expressly stated that he could not give his sanction to such a proposition, unless it had previously met with the approval of Lord Hill. He stated what he knew to be a fact, that the Duke of Cumberland was as warm in his condemnation of the introduction of Orange Lodges into the Army, as any hon. Member who had spoken upon the subject that night. He was not surprised that English Members should be prejudiced against the Orange Society, owing to the statements they had heard made in that House against the institution. The hon. Member who opened the Debate, commenced by stating, that the riot and bloodshed which took place recently in Belfast, was owing to the misconduct of the Orangemen. The hon. Member had reiterated the calumny, without taking any pains to ascertain whether it was true or not. He held in his hand the Belfast Guardian, which contained Resolutions entered into ten days after the riot. He would beg leave, with the permission of the House, to read a passage, which would show whether or not what the hon. Member had stated with respect to Orange Lodges in that part of Ireland, was founded in fact. It appeared by that paper, that there was a special meeting of the Orange Society of Belfast on the 22nd of July, 1835—ten days after the occurrences to which the hon. Member for Middlesex alluded; in which that Society came to 93 a Resolution that, although they deeply regretted the melancholy events which had taken place, they recurred with feelings of gratification to the fact that their own resolution to abstain from any processions on the occasion had been so strictly observed, that not a single member of their Society had been concerned or implicated in the riots which had occurred. In another resolution they expressed their just indignation at the attempts which were constantly making to suppress their body, by the misrepresentation of their principles—principles which their calumniators did not understand. The same paper contained a report of trials, where certain parties were found guilty of rioting, and sentenced to punishment, none of whom were Orangemen. He mentioned this circumstance to show how little reliance was to be placed on party statements. He certainly was much surprised that the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, who, at the time he made his speech upon the subject the other evening, was in possession of this paper, did not mention the fact; as also that there was a procession of Roman Catholics with green and yellow flags flying, by whom the disturbances of the day were commenced. He would state, upon authority in which he placed reliance, that there were no Orange banners displayed in Belfast that day, and that in fact no Orange procession had taken place. He would give another instance of the grossest misrepresentations of the conduct of the Orangemen by the Press in Ireland: it was stated in The Dublin Evening Post (and with great circumstantiality of detail) that a priest had been shot in Carlow by some Orangemen; the fact being that the priest had been dining with a friend, and that in riding home he was thrown from his horse and killed by the fall. The Evening Post attributed this atrocious outrage, as it styled it, to the Orangemen; and so circumstantial were its details, that it set forth that several balls had entered the priest's body, and that one had been extracted from his head—whereas the man was killed by a fall from his horse. The whole statement in the Evening Post was grossly false, and reflected, in the most unwarrantable manner, on his right hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw), by attributing the alleged murder to the speeches delivered by his right hon. Friend. The paragraph also set forth that the murder was perpetrated 94 at a place out of which Colonel Bruen had dispossessed Roman Catholic tenantry, and put Orangemen in their places. What would the House think when he informed them that no such thing as the alleged dispossessing of tenantry had taken place, nor did the accident occur near Colonel Bruen's property at all. The House could now understand with what justice the atrocities perpetrated in Ireland had been laid at the doors of the Orangemen. He denied that the Orange Societies violated any existing statutes; they exacted no oaths—no declarations—no tests. He (Colonel Perceval) never made a declaration, nor took a test, unless the signs could be called so; and at that moment he could not recollect a single sign or pass-word. He repeated, that the Orange Societies were not illegal, and he was borne out in his denial by the opinion of the late Attorney-General (Mr. Blackburn). The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had, on a former occasion, read a portion of the Act of Parliament, and he agreed with the hon. Member, that if declarations and tests existed, the Society was illegal. He stated at the time, that if it were proved to him that the Society was illegal, he would be the first to leave it, and he declared the same now. The Orange Institution was founded on a love of their neighbours— the Orangemen were essentially supporters of the law, and the maintenance of the connexion between England and Ireland, the severance of which was the object of their opponents. He denied that Mr. Scott was expelled from the Society because he entertained Mr. O'Connell at breakfast; but he was expelled because he supported a repeal of the union. Every Orangeman was a lover of British connexion; he was bound to support the law, to maintain the constitution, and the throne of England in the reigning family, being Protestant. These were the real crimes of which the Orangemen had been guilty, and which had drawn down on them the vengeance of the enemies of all order and law. Had the Orangemen, when called upon by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to join him in repealing the Union, responded to his call, no charge would have been preferred against them;—but they stood firm by British connexion, and that was a crime which will never be pardoned. He repeated, that his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland signed the warrants 95 in question on the faith of his signature, and the signature of his hon. Friend the Member for Cavan. He was persuaded that Orange Lodges did not exist in several of the regiments which had been alluded to; and he hoped the noble Lord the Secretary at War would inquire into the fact. He had concurred with a gallant Friend of his that day, who had just returned from Malta, and he was ready to prove before the Committee that no Orange Lodge existed in the regiments quartered there, and which were alluded to by the hon. Member. In the 4th Dragoon Guards, too, he was given to understand that no Lodge existed; but these were facts which he hoped the Secretary at War would ascertain. He should be very happy to see the day when there would be no necessity for any Orange Lodges whatever in Ireland. He was convinced, however, that they were not more injurious than Freemason's Lodges. He was a member of both; and he would confidently assert that the one was as innocent, as amiable, and as worthy of being upheld, as the other; but if one be put down, both must be extinguished.
§ Lord John Russell
said, that he owned it was with some regret he found the hon. Member for Middlesex had persisted in bringing forward the Motion before the House, for he certainly thought it was a question which must occupy the attention of Parliament both during this, and, as he believed, the next Session. He conceived that it would have been better if the hon. Member for Middlesex had waited until the evidence was more complete; but at the same time, as the hon. Member had thought it right to bring the question forward, he should not shrink from taking that course which he felt to be incumbent on him on that occasion. If, in the course of the observations he should feel it his duty to offer to the House, he should pronounce any opinion in favour of those Orange institutions, it could not be imputed to him that he did so from any difference of opinions particularly directed against those societies. While a Member of this House and of the Government he had ever been an enemy to all associations of the kind. He had not hesitated being a party to laws framed in the spirit of the constitution to put down associations which he thought dangerous to that Constitution and injurious to the authority Of the Crown. In this feeling he had been 96 a party to the proclamation to which the hon. Member for Middlesex had alluded, which had put down the proceedings—the dangerous proceedings, as he believed, of the Birmingham Political Union, in 1831; and when persons in humble situations of life had involved themselves in the guilt of illegal transactions, he had thought it his duty to consent to that degree of punishment which might deter others from following so mischievous an example. Therefore, having always entertained those opinions—having entertained them in opposition to large and popular bodies,— and having expressed those opinions against persons in humble situations of life, he now felt it his duty to express the same opinions of censure and condemnation when some of the highest and most illustrious persons in this country, aided by strong party connexion, and by persons of the highest rank, military, and civil, had involved themselves deeply in the mischiefs and injuries which these societies were calculated to create. If those societies served to preserve the peace and harmony of the State, the case might be different, but when it was seen that by degrees they rose until they broke that peace of which they professed to be the conservators—when they poisoned and corrupted the sources of justice they so much lauded—when they perverted and seduced that soldiery whom the King alone had the lawful prerogative to command, when all these evils were visible, he thought the House could not but be sensible that it was its duty by every means in its power to discountenance, and if possible to put a termination to societies of this kind. He was sorry the hon. and gallant Member opposite had alluded to riband associations in the army. A great deal of the evidence on the Table of the House concerned those associations; but he would say, "Let associations of all such kinds be put down." Let the House deal impartially, and join in suppressing those disorders as fruitful of insubordination amongst the people. He had observed, he must say, with great alarm, the declarations made by the hon. and gallant Member for Sligo, and of the hon. Member for Cavan, the Secretary of that body, both of whom had declared themselves to be totally ignorant of the purposes to which the warrants bearing their signatures were to be applied. The hon. Member who had last spoken had informed the House that his 97 royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland had on the faith of his signature and that of the hon. Member for Cavan signed the blank warrants, which afterwards were sent elsewhere, so that his royal Highness had reposed confidence in those who, also placing confidence in others, had affixed their signatures. To add to the alarm consequent on this statement, there was also the fact, stated, not on vague evidence, but by their own Secretary, who, he must say, with the utmost fairness and frankness, had produced all the information in his power, that these warrants for lodges had been sent, he believed, to no less than forty regiments. Thus it appeared, by the confession, or by the testimony of the Secretary to the Orange society, that the warrants were sent amongst non-commissioned officers, amongst soldiers anxious to do their duty to their King, to the Protestant religion, and to the Protestant Church, and who received warrants signed by the hon. Member who had last spoken, signed by the Duke of Cumberland, a Prince of the blood, neither of those individuals knowing one word about the matter, or, supposing they did know, were prepared to condemn the proceeding as subversive of all discipline. He owned this confession revealed practice which could not be too loudly condemned; and when the practice had been condemned by the late Duke of York as fraught with danger to the discipline of the army, he felt some surprise that a declaration had not been added by the Members of that body, from the highest to the lowest, deeply lamenting that they belonged to a society in which such a use was made of their names. He felt some surprise, also, that when those distinguished individuals saw that the whole discipline of the army might be subverted and destroyed under colour of their high authority and their known attachment to the Protestant religion, that they should lose one moment in making it known that they had ceased to be Members of such an association. He could not imagine why the hon. Members opposite should continue to lend such proceedings their countenance and support. He could not conceive that the illustrious Prince, so often named in the course of this debate, should hesitate, when thoroughly convinced of the use that had been made of the blank warrants bearing his signature, to retire from the association, and he could not 98 conceive otherwise than that the illustrious individual in question would feel it consistent with his duty as a Prince of the blood, and filling a high rank in the army, no longer to hold in the society the situation which he now filled. In the observations which he (Lord John Russell) had made, he had said nothing to condemn either the Duke of Cumberland, or those hon. Members opposite; neither had he imputed to them anything except that which they had themselves avowed. He did not impute to them, which indeed would be a grave offence, the having any knowledge that Orange lodges had been formed in the army, although the circumstances under which those lodges were instituted required explanation from them. He now came to the consideration of the Resolutions which had been proposed, and he was very much disposed originally to agree with the hon. Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Patten) in thinking that the first Resolution would come more properly from the Committee after the Report had been made; but on reading the Resolutions more attentively, they seemed to him to contain nothing more than a skeleton of the Constitution on which Orange lodges were framed; and he thought it was necessary for the purposes at present in view that the House should come to some conclusion with respect to the formation of Orange Lodges in the army. He had endeavoured to find out from the evidence who the persons were who had thought it right to make such use of so high authority as the names appended to the warrants; and he would take the liberty of reading to the House two questions, the answers to which threw some light on this subject. The first question was, "Are you aware whether the Members of the Grand Lodge approve of regimental lodges? The answer was, "Of my own knowledge there is a vast difference of opinion on this subject. Many intelligent and influential men seem to think that it was not right or conducive to the good of the army, but that they were overborne in that opinion by a certain majority." With respect to that majority, he could suppose not less than 300 persons of rank, property, and influence, to have been assembled in the Grand Lodge during the deliberation on that question. However that might be, it was surprising that the minority should not have taken pains to make the discussion of that 99 question known to the hon. and gallant Member for sligo, and to all those high personages, who, it would seem, were in the minority, and whose names appeared signed at the top of the warrants—documents which doubtless had produced the greatest effect, when distributed amongst the poor and ignorant Members of the Orange Society. What, however, did they do. The next question asked, was this:—"What do you conceive to have induced the majority of the Grand Lodge to give their sanction to the existence or continuance of regimental Orange Lodges? It is the knowledge and belief that societies, dangerous to the Established Church and to the Protestant institutions of the country, already exist to a very great and dangerous degree throughout the British army; and those Members have argued and come to the conclusion, that they have no right to keep Orange warrants from soldiers making applications for them, when they have heard of the existence of such dangerous institutions, the effects of which can only be mitigated and neutralized by the establishment of Orange Lodges. Now, if he wanted any proof of the danger of such associations he found it in this quotation. The parties complained that dangerous societies existed in the army and instead of going to the military authorities of the country—instead of going to any of his Majesty's servants, civil or military, to inform them of the existence of these dangerous institutions— they set up as a counteracting power, an empire of their own, in the very heart and centre of the army. They said, there were dangerous institutions on the one hand, and they set up more dangerous institutions on the other. What was this, but making the army instead of being full of harmony, discipline, and confidence in their chiefs, the scene of contention and anarchy— what would the effect be, but to make one soldier ready to fight against another, instead of being prepared under his Majesty's authority to preserve the peace of the country against all offenders, be they Orangemen, be they Roman Catholics, or be they Ribandmen? The soldiery would thereby set up for themselves what they thought should be the institutions of the country, and they would no longer be obedient to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, to which only they ought to look. With these impressions on his mind, he could not but be prepared to agree to such 100 of these Resolutions as in the first place concerned the constitution of Orange Societies; and, in the second place, to such as concerned the introduction of those societies into the army. But the hon. Member for Middlesex had introduced an obstacle in the way of these Resolutions by a reference in the last of them to an illustrious individual now holding the rank of Field-Marshal in his Majesty's service. The House must consider that it was hardly possible for it to agree to that Resolution, naming that illustrious individual in the mildest terms, without its being considered as a heavy censure on the part of this House, He had collected from the hon. Member for Lancashire, that there were persons disposed to come forward, and to give evidence to show, that the opinions of his royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland were repugnant to the formation of lodges in the army. He (Lord John Russell) was not disposed to come to a Resolution touching the conduct of any individual, if it could be said, that that individual had not been fairly heard, or if that individual wished to make any defence or explanation. Ha thought that with regard to his royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland that opportunity of explanation had not been fully afforded, and therefore he thought the House ought not to come to anything more than a general Resolution on the subject. He objected to the Resolution being adopted without giving some notice to his royal Highness of the debates which had taken place on his conduct as Grand Master. With this opinion, therefore, and at once admitting, that he was ready to agree to those Resolutions which concerned the Constitution and the introduction of Orange Lodges into the army, he was disposed to recommend that the further discussion of the question should be postponed for some days, in order that, if any evidence should be tendered before the Committee with reference to this subject, that the Committee should have an opportunity of receiving and furnishing it to this House. With respect generally to the evidence which related to the army, he understood it was fully closed, and therefore there could be no objection to agree to an Address to the Crown on that head. He should not now enter into the manner in which the Orange Societies affected the peace of Ireland, and as to the manner in which they affected and weakened the 101 authority of the Crown, and interrupted the course of justice, that was unhappily too well known, for it had been shown, nay avowed, by one of the officers of these societies, that money had been sent down to defend prisoners against—what the House would be surprised to hear— Government prosecutions. But with respect to all that part of the subject he should not now deal, for it was one of those important questions, containing the roots of the evils which constituted the miseries of Ireland, and which spread fast and far over the land. In another Session, he thought it must be a subject for the deep and anxious consideration of both Houses of Parliament. In the mean time the Government would anxiously endeavour to maintain the authority of the Crown, to protect the due course of law, and to save the people of Ireland themselves from contamination and dishonour.
§ Mr. Wilson Patten
was understood to concur in the view taken by the noble Lord opposite. He had done his duty in conformity with the wishes of the Committee by submitting his Amendment to the House.
§ Mr. Hume
begged, before the question of adjournment was put, to state that nothing could be more consonant with his wishes than the view which had been taken by the noble Lord at the head of the Home Department. If any intimation had been given to him that an opportunity for explanation should be given to the illustrious personage, he should not have named the illustrious Duke in his resolutions. He, however, fully concurred in the justice and propriety of the noble Lord's proposal.
§ Sir Robert Peel
rose and said, he was most anxious now to state very shortly to the House the view which he had taken of this question, because on Tuesday next he might perchance not have the opportunity of stating the conclusion to which he had come upon the question, previous to the speech made by the noble Lord opposite, and to which conclusion notwithstanding that speech, he was still inclined to adhere. He had understood the 102 object of the special Report of this Committee had been confined to the matter of the existence of Orange Lodges in the army; and he thought it would have been better if the resolutions and debate bad been confined to the military question alone. He thought it was premature, when further evidence was to be had, for the House to enter into resolutions when the whole of the evidence taken, or to be taken, by the Committee was not before it. His construction of the resolutions was very different from that put upon them by the noble Lord. He thought the first six or seven resolutions referred to the institution of Orange Lodges generally, and their civil consequences, and the last three or four he understood to refer to Orange Lodges in connexion with military discipline. He should be disposed in the first place to urge the postponement of the general question, on the ground that the Report was not complete, but, without any distinction, he must on other grounds protest against the House acquiescing in these resolutions. These resolutions consisted of a mere declaration of fact—without expressing any opinion—without stating any expectation— that a law would be brought in to check such practices; and yet they concluded with a declaration that along with the evidence taken before the Committee they should be laid before his Majesty. Now this was a novel course for the House to pursue; he meant to come to resolutions of fact, and to lay them before his Majesty without any opinion of the House thereupon. What was the answer which the Crown could give in reply? The Crown could not pledge its acquiescence to the opinion of the House, for the House had expressed none. This, therefore, was an inexpedient and an ineffectual course, and he had expected that the noble Lord would have had the moral courage to make a statement to that effect. If the noble Lord meant to state that it was necessary to have an explanation of the constitution of Orange Lodges as a preliminary groundwork for other proceedings, that would alter the effect of the resolutions, and would diminish his objection to assenting to them. But in that case the Resolutions should be nothing but explanatory. It was indifferent to him what course the House might be inclined to pursue, but still he must say that, the course now adopted was novel, consider 103 that there was not a sufficient statement of the premises on which it was founded. He hoped that the House, before it affirmed these resolutions would be certain of the accuracy of the premises on which it was based. ["Oh! Oh!]. "If the hon. Gentleman is tired," said Sir Robert Peel, "who makes these interruptions, he may retire, He has no right to interrupt me in my address to the House. I have already said, that I will not take any advantage of a number of hon. Members having left the House under the impression that no division will take place to-night upon this Motion. No man who knows anything of my Parliamentary conduct for many years now past, has a right to say that I am likely to take any unfair advantage of my political opponents. I am not the man to take an unfair advantage of any accidental conduct on the part of my political opponents to insure to myself a mere temporary triumph; and my consciousness of that fact induces me to say that any man who is tired of my observations had better to retire, and leave our debates to proceed without interruption. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to state, that with respect to the connexion and interference of the Orange Lodges with the military discipline of the army, he had no hesitation in condemning it in as strong language as any that had been used by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. The existence of such societies, as secret societies, must be unknown to the officers of the regiment in which they were formed, and, being unknown to them, must be subversive of all military discipline and subordination. It led, of necessity, to the formation of other societies of an opposite political character. Whether such societies were known under the denomination of Orange Lodges or any other denomination, it was impossible to defend their existence. He had been prepared to take a course which he thought would have closed these proceedings without much difficulty. He had thought that the noble Lord would have proposed that the evidence taken before the Committee should be presented to the Crown; and that he would then have asked the Crown to institute an inquiry into the existence of Orange Lodges in the army. He thought that their existence at present was not sufficiently notorious. If any of the facts asserted in these Resolutions were incorrect, the House of 104 Commons must be responsible for that incorrectness. In his opinion hon. Members ought to examine the wording of these Resolutions with great circumspection in order to be certain that they were borne out by evidence in affirming them. For undoubtedly it lowered the character of the House of Commons to affirm resolutions without being master of the facts upon which they were grounded. He would call the attention of hon. Gentlemen to the seventh Resolution, which affirmed—"That it appears by the books of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, produced by its Deputy Grand Secretary before the Select Committee of this House, that the undermentioned warrants for constituting and holding Orange Lodges have been issued to non-commisioned officers and privates of the following regiments of cavalry and of infantry of the line, at home and abroad; to non-commissioned officers of the staff of several militia regiments; to members of other corps, and to the police." Then came proofs of the allegations in detail, extending to every regiment. The allegations as to the regiments were affirmed by proof, but there was no proof as to the existence of such Lodges among the police.
§ Sir Robert Peel
The hon. Member has also made the same charges against "other corps," as, for instance, the Sappers and Miners.
§ Sir Robert Peel,
If you can establish that fact, I say at once that I have no objection to agree to this Resolution. But when, as his notorious, nine-tenths of the House which I am now addressing have not examined the evidence taken before this Committee, there is a great inconvenience in affirming such a resolution as that to which I have been adverting.
§ Sir Robert Peel
When I am called upon to affirm facts which implicate thirty regiments, I should have certain and irrefragable evidence that such a formal Resolution is not open to objection on account of its inaccuracy. Suppose, for instance, we had affirmed this Resolution as to the colonies. It had been shown that evening, and fortunately in time that the assertion of such a principle would have been incorrect. Had hon. Gentlemen taken the trouble of considering that this was an inconvenience to which the House ought not to be exposed? The course which he would acquiesce in was this; he would vote for a general Resolution descriptive of the constitution of the Orange Lodges—in a word for that Resolution which had formed the groundwork of the second Resolution moved by the hon. Gentleman, and which would answer every purpose contemplated by the hon. Member for Middlesex. He should then be prepared to acquiesce in the Motion, that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, praying that he would be graciously pleased to allow evidence which had been taken to be laid before him. He should then have been prepared to acquiesce in a resolution that his Majesty be pleased to direct his Royal attention (that by-the-by was a new form of Address) to the nature and extent of the formation of Orange Lodges in his Majesty's army.
§ Sir Robert Peel
was aware that it was quite impossible that loyalty so sensitive as that of the hon. Gentleman could easily be satisfied. In future, when he heard any reflection cast upon the hon. Member for Middlesex, either for want of loyalty or for want of decorum, he should always be ready to state that when he had proposed to ask the Crown to grant a certain species of inquiry, the hon. Member had significantly shaken his head and cried out "No, no," and declared that such a course of proceeding would be dictating to his Majesty. He acquiesced in the Motion of the hon. Member calling for the number of the lodges in which these warrants had been registered, and must concur with him in asking how these warrants 106 had reached registration. He should protest against any special reference to the conduct of the Duke of Cumberland, and yet he should not desire to exempt that illustrious Duke from an inquiry instituted by the Crown. He thought that the objection of the noble Lord was well founded, and that it was impossible to name any individual in these Resolutions without implying some censure upon him. Now, to imply censure on persons who had not been heard in their defence, was clearly inconsistent with justice. At the same time, he would say, that the course pursued by the noble Lord was also open to objection. The noble Lord had proposed a short adjournment of the Debate, as if to give the Duke of Cumberland an opportunity of vindicating himself from the charges brought against him. Now, if that proposition were founded on the ground that the House was not in a condition to decide on the course which it ought to pursue, he had no objection to make against it. He trusted that that was the ground on which the noble Lord had put this question. He thought, however, that the mere proposal of giving the Duke of Cumberland an opportunity of going before the Committee to vindicate himself, implied a degree of censure against that illustrious individual. He confessed that he was prepared for one of two courses—either to continue to the present Committee the power of making the inquiries which they were now instituting, or to postpone it altogether. An hon. Gentleman had said, that he had no objection to extend this inquiry to the examination of the existence of Orange Lodges in England, and he would make no objection to such a proceeding. He had heard with great satisfaction, the opinion, that the result of this examination would be to provide for the termination of all Societies of this character. Such a conclusion would be most satisfactory. He, therefore, hoped that all persons of influence would exert themselves to counsel the abandonment of these institutions. He admitted that no good purpose would be served by Orange Societies, but he was not prepared to sanction a string of Resolutions condemning them on imperfect evidence. He never recollected such a course as that of the hon. Member for Middlesex, who supplied everything from his own Report which tended to support his Resolutions. If there were Orange Lodges in the army, that was in his opinion, ground for a 107 Special Report. But to propose a regular string of Resolutions, without one title of proof to confirm them, was a course not hitherto warranted by Parliament. He was not ready, however, to oppose the Question of Adjournment. In conclusion, the right hon. Baronet stated, that he would not acquiesce in any Resolution which in the present state of things implied censure on any party whatever.
§ Viscount Howick
contended that the existence of Orange Lodges in the army was contrary to the orders of the army, and was a subject that must undergo immediate inquiry. In order to show how anxious Lord Hill was on the point, he would read to the House a letter written by his direction to Sir Edward Blakeney, now commander of the troops in Ireland. Letters to the same effect had also been addressed to the senior officer of the district in which the King's Dragoon Guards were stationed, and to the Major General commanding in Scotland. On the 30th of July, he had received a letter from Lord Hill, communicating those facts, which he would read to the House. The letter addressed to him was as follows:—Horse Guards, 30th July, 1835.My Lord,—I have had the honour to receive your Lordship's letter of the 27th instant, transmitting the copy of a letter which you had received from Mr. Hume, on the subject of the asserted existence of Orange Lodges in some of the regiments now quartered in Ireland.I have, in consequence, caused the letters, of which the inclosed are copies, to be addressed to Sir Edward Blakeney, who is in temporary charge of the troops in Ireland, to the senior officer of the district in which the King's Dragoon Guards are stationed in England, and to the Major-General commanding in Scotland, it appearing that the dépôt of the 64th, which had been for some time under orders for North Britain, had actually arrived there from Ireland.I will take care to forward the reports of these officers to your Lordship, as soon as they reach me, and, in the mean time, I think it right to state, that Lieutenant-Colonel Dixon, who is mentioned in Mr. Hume's letter, exchanged to the 40th regiment more than three years ago, and is now serving at Bombay.1 have, &c.(Signed) HILL.He would also read to the House, in order to show how anxious Lord Hill was that the proper inquiries should be instituted, in order to preserve the regulations of the service, the letter addressed by his command to Sir Edward Blakeney. 108Horse Guards, 29th July, 1835.Sir—By Lord Hill's command, I have the honour herewith to transmit to you a letter and inclosure, which his Lordship has just received from the Secretary-at-War, whereby it appears that, in evidence taken before a Committee of the House of Commons, it is stated that Orange Lodges have existed, or exist, in the regiments specified in the margin,* in disobedience of the orders contained in the circular confidential letters issued from this department, under date the 1st of July, 1822, and the 14th of November, 1829. His Lordship desires that, immediately on receipt hereof, you direct the respective General Officers commanding the districts in which these regiments are at present stationed, to inquire into the circumstance represented by Mr. Hume in his letter to Lord Howick. The General Officers concerned are to call before them, and personally examine, the men named in Mr. Hume's letter, taking every possible means in the course of such examination to ascertain at whose instance the Orange Lodge was formed, if formed at all, whether any diploma was issued for the purpose, and by whom—whether any and what portion of the regiment was concerned in keeping the feeling of Orange party alive in the regiment—and in short, every circumstance that can tend, in any degree, however remotely or collaterally, to throw light upon a subject to which so much importance is attached.You will be pleased to take this occasion to communicate instantly with every regiment and dépôot under your command, and to ascertain for Lord Hill's information, how far the prohibitory orders issued against Orange Lodges have been infringed upon or disobeyed, and should you, in the course of these references and investigations, discover that these orders have in any instance been disobeyed by any Officer whatever, you will report him at once to the General Commander-in-Chief, in order to his being duly called to account for his conduct.As Lieutenant-Colonel Dixon is now with the 40th regiment in India, and as the 64th regiment is in Jamaica, you can only, for the present, refer to the dépôt of the last mentioned regiment for such particulars as its Commanding Officer may be able to furnish touching the Orange Lodge which is thus said to have existed in that regiment.I have only to add, that Lord Hill will be impatient to receive your reports, and those of the General Officers of districts, in consequence of these institutions.I have, &c.,(Signed) JOHN MACDONALD, A. G.From this letter the noble Viscount said, it appeared that no means had been left untried to institute an inquiry into the formation of Orange Lodges in the* 15th Hussars, Royals (2nd Battalion), 64th Regiment.109 army. He must also remark, that it did not appear to him that an inquiry into this subject conducted by military authority was all that was required. Such an inquiry could scarcely by any means within the command of the Horse Guards extend beyond the officers and soldiers now serving, and if such persons were to be punished for holding Orange Lodges, it was quite evident that the House must inquire into the circumstance of warrants having been issued for the holding of such Lodges, bearing the signatures of persons high in rank, and especially of his Royal Highness Ernest Duke of Cumberland. Now, in assenting to the Motion of adjournment, the House did nothing implying a censure on that illustrious Prince, in absence of all explanation on his part. At the same time, he must say, that it would not have done for the House to have gone into an inquiry on this subject without adjournment, and without giving his Royal Highness an opportunity of making that explanation which the facts appeared to require. It appeared to him that the course proposed by his noble Friend was the best that the House could adopt, without prejudging the Question. His noble Friend proposed, that the hon. Member for Middlesex should omit those Resolutions which related to the military part of the subject, and that having done so, it would be necessary for the House to state hereafter the opinions which it would sanction.
§ The further debate postponed to Tuesday next.