HC Deb 20 July 1835 vol 29 cc732-5
Mr. Wilson Patten

stated, that, in consequence of what had taken place on Friday night respecting Orange Lodges in Ireland and the army, he had been directed by the Committee to move, that they report on certain parts of the evidence, and that the minutes of the evidence should be laid on the Table of the House. There were other portions of the evidence which were as yet unfit for publication. The hon. Member concluded by moving accordingly.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

said, he had the highest authority for stating, in contradiction to the insinuation which had been made on Friday night, that the Duke of Cumberland had never issued any warrants for the formation of Orange Lodges in the army. In the only case in which he had been applied to he refused to sanction the application, unless they could procure the consent of the Commander-in-Chief at the Horse Guards. He (Mr. Jackson) did not deny that certain warrants had been signed by his Royal Highness, as Grand Master, but if any of them had been sent to any regiments or portion of the army, it was done without his consent, and without his knowledge.

Mr. Henry Maxwell

was anxious to corroborate what had just fallen from his hon. and learned Friend. The warrants almost invariably passed through his (Mr. Maxwell's) hands; they were sent in blank, and his signature and those of other grand officers were necessary, and when they were affixed they were forwarded for the signature of the Duke of Cumberland. That being obtained, five or six other names were added, and the warrants were re-transmitted to Dublin, and filled up according to the purpose of the general managing body; but the destination was altogether unknown to his Royal Highness. "I beg leave (continued the hon. Member) particularly to corroborate what has been stated by my hon. and learned Friend respecting an individual application to the Duke of Cumberland for an Orange Lodge in a regiment. His Royal Highness has given me full permission and authority to mention that he gave the most direct refusal to the application, unless permission were first obtained from the Horse Guards. If that permission were given, his Royal Highness was ready to grant the warrant, but otherwise he could not give it his sanction as Grand Master."

Captain Curteis

I beg to remark that the Duke of Cumberland is at present an officer in the British Army. The hon. Member who has just spoken seems well acquainted with the facts of the case, as regards different regiments; but, as an officer serving in a regiment chiefly composed of Roman Catholics, I beg to say that an Orange Lodge was formed in it without the slightest knowledge of the officers generally; and I do not hesitate to say, that, before it was formed, it was the duty of the parties to acquaint the Commander-in-Chief. Looking at the regiments in which Orange Lodges have been formed, I must add, that the wish seems to have been to excite ill-will and indignation between the Protestants and Roman Catholics. I do not know what may be the precise intentions of the hon. Member for Middlesex, but I beg to say, that if for any reason he does not think fit to pursue this subject, I shall think it my duty to bring it before the House.

Mr. Henry Grattan

said, that the greatest disturbances had taken place in Ireland, from those warrants which bore the signature of the noble individual alluded to. He begged to ask the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Henry Maxwell), whether he sent from the grand Lodge five members, under a warrant, to the county of Monaghan, in 1821? They came upon his estate, and a set of greater incendiaries were not to be found in the country. They did the utmost mischief, and ought to have been transported to Botany Bay, They set one part of his tenantry against another, and introduced an alarming animosity that to the present time had never subsided. Had not the corporation-seal as it were, and the signature of the Duke of Cumberland, been sent through Ireland? The hon. Member said, that these warrants were signed by the Duke of Cumberland, but that he was authorised to say that his Royal Highness did not know of their destination. He happened to know an Orangeman who did believe that the Duke of Cumberland had given his authority; he and others, it now appeared, had been entrapped by the fabricator and forger of the name of the Duke of Cumberland. What right had they to put his name to warrants? He was well aware that the warrants were signed in blank, but they were afterwards filled up, and he wanted to know by whom? If they were filled up with the names of the Grand Committee, he begged to ask the hon. Member for Lancashire, whether the Report he was going to lay on the Table would show who were the Grand Committee? They ought to have the names of those who had been in the habit of committing forgery. It was a topic which could not rest here. The hon. Member for Lancashire must inform the House when it was likely that the evidence would be printed and in their hands; for if it were voluminous they might reach the end of the Session before the House was in a condition to consider it. The House would observe, too, that these processions were not confined to the 12th of July, but they took place on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of July also. In the county of Wicklow there had been one within a hundred yards of the residence of two Magistrates, when a shot was fired, and a Roman Catholic nearly killed; the individuals who did this acted at the time under one of those forged warrants. He hoped that other Members would take up the subject, who could examine it with more impartial and scrutinizing minds than he pretended to possess: but let them first read the evidence given before the Coroner's inquest at Belfast, which he then held in his hand—evidence by men and officers, which showed that the military did not fire until they were placed between two showers of stones. Two orders were given by the Magistrates; but the soldiers did not fire until the second order. He thought the House would agree with him, that it was absolutely necessary that a stop should be put to this system. If they continued sitting till Christmas, Parliament ought to interfere to protect the lives of his Majesty's subjects in Ireland.

Mr. Wilson Patten

begged to say, that the evidence would furnish the names of the members of the Committee of the Orange Association in Dublin up to the present time, so that the hon. Member for Meath would be able to refer to every person connected with the institution. As to the time that it would take to print the evidence, he had reason to believe that it would be in the hands of Members in a few days; the operation of printing had been so proceeded with that the whole would, probably, be ready this week.

Mr. Henry Maxwell

, in reply to the question of the hon. Member for Meath, regarding a warrant issued in 1821, had only to say that he could not answer him, because he was not a member of the Orange Institution until 1828. He begged to add, that, until he heard it in the Committee of that House upon Orange Lodges, he was not aware that there was a single Lodge connected with any regiment in the army or militia. He might have been deplorably ignorant, but such was the fact. He could undertake to assert, that no forgery had been committed by any member of the Grand Committee. The signatures of the Duke of Cumberland, as Grand Master, were bonâ fide, as well as those of the hon. and gallant Member for Sligo, the Grand Treasurer, and of other Grand Officers, but they had been attached to blank warrants.

Mr. Ruthven

thought that the impression regarding the forgery of names was altogether erroneous. He had seen some of the warrants, and one objection was, that the Duke of Cumberland, an illustrious Prince, and a high military officer, was made to give his sanction to institutions of which he knew nothing. His Royal Highness was not aware of the use which was to be made of his signature when it was placed in the hands of those who ought, least of all, to have distributed the warrants among the soldiery. Nothing could be more dangerous than to introduce societies of this kind into the army, which was bound to the country by its allegiance, and by its duty to the laws, and ought not to obey the mandate even of the Duke of Cumberland.

Motion agreed to, and Report ordered to be laid on the Table.