HC Deb 24 August 1835 vol 30 cc938-40
Mr. Sergeant Jackson

hoped that he might be allowed to present the Petition which the counting out of the House on Saturday prevented. It was a petition from the undersigned bankers, &c, inhabitants of Dublin, complaining of the treatment they had received from a mob at the meeting in Coburg-gardens in Dublin, on the 12th inst.; also complaining of their meeting at the Hall of the Guild of Merchants having been disturbed by a similar mob, and praying for protection to the Protestants of Ireland in exercising the right of petition.

Mr. Ruthven

said, this petition purported to come from the "bankers, merchants, &c," of Dublin, and yet the very first name on it was that of the notorious "Johnny M'Crea," as he was commonly called, and that was followed by the names of a long list of obscure persons, amongst whom it would be difficult to find a single banker or respectable merchant of Dublin. He supposed, notwithstanding, that those petitions did not come within the designation of "scum of the earth," which the learned Sergeant had on a former occasion applied to the 20,000 persons who had assembled in the Coburg-gardens. The present petitioners had gone armed in a body to the meeting in the Coburg-gardens, and had endeavoured by violence to take possession of the hustings. A fight was the consequence. Their weapons were taken from them, they were well beaten, and deservedly driven from a meeting: they attempted to disturb.

Colonel Perceval

was instructed to state that this petition was numerously and most respectably signed, and he believed such to be the fact. The hon. Member would seem to insinuate that the respectability was all on one side. He would admit that the opposite petition had respectable signatures to it, but so had this. These parties had attended the meeting in the Coburg-gardens at the express invitation of the Trades' Union, who promised them that they should not be molested, and that each side should be heard. Instead of that, they were attacked by armed men, and treated as the petitioners described. He should state that they went totally unarmed to the meeting.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that the gallant Member's belief was indeed of a very extensive nature, or he would not credit a statement totally at variance with all the published evidence on the fact. The first name to this petition was that of the Rev. John M'Crea, "of Gurtnasheen,"—rather a queer designation for a resident inhabitant of Dublin, and this petition purported to come from the inhabitants of Dublin. The truth was, that this man, and a number of others of his party, preoccupied the room engaged for the holding of this meeting a couple of hours before that fixed for the taking of the chair, and when the requestionists arrived they found the place in the hands of their opponents. They then called a meeting for the purpose in the Coburg-gardens. Immediately the Orange party set to work; the Orange Lodges in Dublin and its vicinity, seventeen in number, were assembled; they marched 400 strong to this meeting; they forced their way into the middle of it; they then assaulted the people with weapons, and endeavured to make a rush on the hustings. He (Mr. O'Connell) saw this statement confirmed in a letter from an English gentleman, wholly unconnected with Irish parties, who was present at the meeting. He also understood that a respectable English barrister, now in town, stated that he was present as a spectator at this meeting, and that he never witnessed anything more ruffianly than the assault of those 400 men on the people. They were well beaten and driven from the field, and now they resorted to that House with their complaints.

Mr. Hume

said, that the letter referred to had been addressed to him by an English gentleman, who stated that those men came in a body armed with bludgeons—that they penetrated to the middle of the meeting, and that they then began to use their weapons; whereupon the people attacked them, took their arms from them, and beat them severely, many having been driven from the field with broken heads. He had every confidence in the gentleman from whom this statement came. He hoped that his Majesty's Government would take measures to put down those Orange Lodges, the source of perpetual turmoil and disturbance in Ireland.

Mr. Sheil

thought it right that the House and the public should know that there was an Orange Lodge established in, the 35th Regiment, at present quartered in Templemore, county of Tipperary. He had received a letter from Rev. Mr. Laffan, Roman Catholic clergyman of that place, stating that on a recent occasion the soldiers belonging to the Orange Lodge in that regiment had rushed into the streets with drawn bayonets, expressing their anxiety that they might meet with a Catholic priest to put him to death, and that they committed various outrages an the Roman Catholics of the town. He hoped that the Government would make immediate inquiry into this matter.

Petition to lie on the Table.