§ On the Motion, that the Order of the day for the House resolving itself into a Committee of Supply be read,
§ Mr. Finn
rose to move, as an Amendment for a Select Committee, to inquire into the nature, character, extent, and tendency of Orange lodges, associations, or societies in Ireland, and to report their opinion thereon to the House, of which he had given notice. He did not anticipate that his motion would be opposed by 136 his Majesty's Government, though the Orange party, with Lord Roden at their head, aided and supported by many hon. Members of that House, arrogated to themselves in Ireland the exclusive loyalty, and the exclusive religion of that country. The time was come when, in this respect at least, something like equality should be established between these noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen, and the rest of their fellow-countrymen; but the intolerant spirit of the dominant party was manifested by the oath prescribed to be taken by them, and which he would read to the House. The oath was as follows:—I do solemnly and sincerely swear, of my own free will and accord, that I will, to the utmost of my power, support and defend the present King George the Third, his heirs and successors, so long as he and they shall support the Protestant ascendency." The galling yoke, so long borne by the people of Ireland, could not, he felt assured, be long sustained, or supported by the honest and proud spirit of the English people. Of the evil effects of the system he could afford ample proofs, but he would first rely upon the opinion which had been expressed by a learned Judge (Mr. Justice Fletcher). That eminent individual had said—"I have found that those Orange lodges have produced the most mischievous effects in society: they have induced the magistrates to violate their duty—verdicts have been often given in direct opposition to the charge of the Judge." Such was the slavery to which the Roman Catholic portion of the community was reduced, and such was the cause. Justice was perverted, as it was difficult to get a jury, save of Orangemen; and yet this was the body whom the King (the common father of his people) had received in private with an address in the manner detailed in the Dublin Evening Mail. This was not the method by which to conciliate the feelings of the Irish people—rather tell them in the field of battle that the services of Catholics would be dispensed with—rather have sent them home from the field of Waterloo without claiming their valour—than thus brand them with inequality in the land which gave them birth. He had already said, that justice was perverted, and he put it to the House how it was possible that it could be otherwise, when juries, grand juries, and high sheriffs, were nearly entirely composed of Orangemen. Nay, even the Knight of 137 Kerry had declared that the Roman Catholics would consider it a mercy to be tried for offences alleged against them by courts-martial, rather than by juries and functionaries thus exclusively composed. The exclusive character of the Orangemen of Ireland was manifested by the grounds upon which the objection was raised to the late Government at the Down-shire meeting recently—a meeting at which according to one account, 70,000 Orangemen, to another 35,000, and to a third account 25,000, had assembled. The objection was founded upon the general system of education in Ireland adopted by the late Government. An Orange lodge had been formed at Newry, and to connect it with Conservative politics it had been called the Adelaide Orange lodge. This was the language in which the formation of that lodge was publicly announced:—"Her gracious Majesty has been much blamed for supposed interference in great political matters. Whether or not she shall express herself highly gratified at the high honour which the High-street boys have conferred on her, by making her their patroness, we cannot presume to say. This, however, we can confidently assert, that she neither would fling dead cats and rubbish over the High-street Nunnery wall, nor annoy the ladies walking through the grounds by indecent expressions; nor, we are assured, would she have joined in the wrecking of the convent, or lent the weight of her little finger to the crow-bar which was used in attempting to force the gate." Such was the language used by these Orangemen. He would next refer to an opinion which Lord Chief Justice Bushe had given upon a case tried before him in the county of Down. An Orangeman had been indicted for a libel, which was brought home to him by the clearest evidence; and yet, though there could be no doubt as to the grossness of the libel, the jury instantly brought in a verdict of acquittal. What was the observation of the learned Judge? Nothing less than this—"That is your verdict, gentlemen of the jury, thank God it is not mine." In the county of Cavan an equal number of Orangemen and Catholics were indicted for being engaged in the same riot. An Orange jury was impannelled, and the result was, that the Orangemen were all acquitted, and that the Catholics were one and all convicted. The injustice of this verdict was so flagrant, that the learned personage who 138 tried the case, took the law, as it were, into his own hands, and obtained the pardon of the convicted Catholics. Now, could they, as men of common sense and fairness, expect that the Catholics would be contented so long as they saw that owing to these societies they could have no confidence in the administration of justice? He would next show the feelings of Orangemen by their own language, as published in their recognized organ, the Dublin Evening Mail. A Mr. Phillips at one of these Orange meetings said,—"We are now 3,000,000 of men, and our advanced guard is the Orangemen of Ireland. The Orangemen are a well organized body, comprising 160,000 men, every one of whom is ready and willing to die for his religion, for the principles of the constitution, and for his King, if he act up to the principles which he has sworn to maintain, and which were established at the glorious Revolution of 1688. Let those fight for their new-fangled constitution who will; but this I know, they will not be the Orangemen of Ireland." So, that whether the Catholic Emancipation Bill, or the Reform Bill, or any other Bill, made what these exclusively loyal and religious gentlemen were pleased to call a new-fangled constitution, against that they were prepared to make their stand, and if upon such measures the King upon the Throne did not choose to act as their exclusively loyal and religious mightinesses deemed expedient, their loyalty was at an end, and their allegiance was to be dissolved for ever. These they were told, were the sentiments of 20,000 men in Armagh, and in these 20,000 men were to be found the grand jurors, the petty jurors, the magistrates, the high sheriff, almost all the persons who were engaged in the administration of justice, and could the House expect that the people of Ireland would appeal to tribunals over which such men had the power of exercising influence? He would next quote the language of Lord Mandeville to an Orange meeting in Downshire, where his arrival was said to be greeted by the simultaneous cheers of the whole assembly. These were the words of the report:—"Lord Mandeville next presented himself. A simultaneous burst of applause rent the air, the band at the same time striking up the air of the 'Protestant Boys.' His Lordship said:—'Gentlemen and Brothers.' [Not less than 20,000 persons 139 were present; almost all, to a man, were dressed with the insignia of the Orange institution. The equipages and housings of the horses of the gentlemen were decorated with Orange ribands.] 'We are assembled here in order to show you the necessity of standing together, that we may be protected from recurrence of those scenes of outrage which have invariably been committed by Papists over Protestants whenever they possessed power over them. It is to ourselves, it is to the Orangemen of Ireland that we are indebted for being enabled to meet this day in the broad face of heaven; and if Protestants be not united together, we have nothing to hope for short of again hearing the tinkling of chapel bells, calling our enemies to another Sicilian vespers, commemorative of the occasion when Papists rose and massacred every Protestant they could lay their hands upon.'" Of whom was it that the noble Lord was speaking in this violent language of execration? Of 7,000,000 of his Catholic fellow-countrymen. Whose religion was it that he was denouncing in these terms of unmeasured scorn and bitterness? The religion of the greater part of Europe—the religion of our faithful allies in Austria—the religion of our rivals in arts and in arms in France—the religion of Spain, and Portugal, and Italy. Where the noble Lord had learned his religion, he (Mr. Finn) knew not; but in the language of Mr. Boyce he must say, "His (Lord Mandeville's) religion is not my religion: his God is not our God." His religion could not be the religion of the Gospel, for that was a religion of peace, good-will, and charity—a religion which bade us love and not hate one another—a religion, which sought to eradicate, and not to exasperate, the bad passions of human nature. He would not however, pursue this train of reflection further. He entertained a grateful recollection that the religion which the noble Lord professed, was the religion of Grattan, of Charlemont, of Fox, and of many other great and good men, who, through bad report and good report, had laboured to achieve the emancipation of their Catholic fellow-subjects; and with that recollection fresh in his mind, he would not suffer any observation to escape which could cast discredit upon that religion. He would, therefore, suppose that the noble Lord was labouring under some gross delusion—that he was speaking in utter 140 ignorance of the subject on which he was talking, when he gave a description as he had done of the religion professed by so large a portion of the people of Ireland. The man who charged the Catholics of Ireland, with such atrocious sentiments as the noble Lord supposed to reign in their hearts must be utterly ignorant of their religion and its tenets. Hon. Members had heard something about the poetry of Johnny M'Crea from his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Tipperary. He would now proceed to give the House a specimen of the deliberate sentiments of that reverend personage, and, what was more important, a subscription of two hon. Members of that House in approbation of those sentiments. He would first point out to their notice the atrocious language used by this Johnny M'Crea, and he would then give them the words in which two hon. Members of that House had given in their subscription to it. It appeared that Johnny M'Crea was in the habit of preaching in Dublin; and that, on one occasion, he was defending himself from the imputation of having brought uncharitable charges against his religious opponents, or, as he himself styled it he was "defending the foundations of Protestantism against the unprovoked language by the Goliah of Gath, during his lecture in the chapel of Westland-row." Speaking of the prophecies of scripture, and the analogies of history, he observed,—" If I live to the natural period of three score years and ten, I shall not be surprised to see a moral reaction, in which the Protestants of this country, roused to indignation, shall execute the fury of the Lord of Hosts upon their enemies. I am not dismayed because of the acknowledged beautiful edifices that superstition is raising in every quarter of the land. These stupendous and magnificent structures, are so many churches being built for us. I have preached in the pulpit at Perth, in which Knox uttered the memorable declaration, that to banish the crows we must pull down their nests. The recollection is a stimulus to the zeal of the humble person that now addresses you; and should the enemies of the Bible advance one step in the invasion of the territories of Christ, he is pledged to God and to the Church, with the blessing of the highest, to rouse a spirit that no power on earth or in hell can resist. If my interpretation of sacred prophecy is true, 141 Popery is the antitype of the 'abomination that maketh desolate.' Sin must therefore cease. 'Every Popish altar in Ireland must be broken down; every Popish temple in Ireland must be cleansed and consecrated, and every Popish priest must either hide his diminished head in obscurity, transport himself to the congenial soil of the Cherokee, become a preacher of the faith he now seeks to destroy, or fall a victim to the (perhaps) unrighteous indignation of a people, the blood of whose forefathers cries to Heaven for vengeance against the man of sin." This man, he wished the House to remark, was the poet laureat and chaplain to the Orange Lodge in Dublin, and held, moreover, a high rank among the Conservatives. The Catholics were now building chapels out of their own pockets; and this reverend gentleman, acting as he supposed, in the spirit of Christian charity, told them that all their altars must be broken down, and all their temples cleansed and consecrated, or in plain English denied and spoliated. It would perhaps surprise the House to hear, that he found this curious testimonial to the merits of Johnny M'Crea, in the Evening Mail. It was headed with the usual Orange motto—"No Surrender," and was couched in the following terms:—"Protestant testimonial to the reverend Mr. M'Crea. The untiring and successful labours of the reverend Mr. M'Crea on behalf of scriptural religion, and his magnanimous assertion of constitutional principles at the Royal Exchange, which defeated O'Connell and his confederates in the design to embarrass the King and his Ministers, have led the following persons to subscribe towards presenting the reverend gentleman with a service of plate, as a testimony of Protestant approbation and gratitude." Among the names of the subscribers to this testimonial were those of Captain Childers,—but he was loth to proceed; for it was one of the faults of these institutions that they drew into their vortex men of amiable temper and manners—men who, in their private capacities, were irreproachable, good husbands and good fathers, good landlords and kind masters. There was also another Member of Parliament, Mr. Cooper, 5l., Colonel Verner 5l. He would not dwell on these topics. He had visited every country in Europe, but had seen none so miserable as Ireland, gifted though she was with all 142 the attributes to render her flourishing and. happy. Was it not wretched that a country so blessed by the bountiful dispensations of Heaven should be so cursed by the blighting dissensions of man? He had spoken with the utmost frankness on this subject—he had no wish to give any man offence—it was more in sorrow than in anger that any expressions which might have given pain had fallen from him. If the House should determine to grant the Committee for which he was about to move, and that Committee should be empowered to inquire into this system, which extended, he believed, over three-fourths of the Protestant population of Ireland, he trusted, that the Committee would be constituted without any party bias. He implored the House to consider what would be the effect if the circumstances of the present case happened to be reversed,—if the Catholics had similar signs with the Protestants, if no Protestant were admitted a member of their secret societies, if every Protestant was denounced as an enemy? Would not the Protestants in that case naturally look upon every Catholic as their enemy? Under the present system the Catholics looked upon themselves as outcasts, and would be so looked upon by others, so long as it existed. But they were not the slaves of the ascendancy party, nor would they consent any longer to be considered in any other light than as their equals. He hoped, that a fair Committee would be appointed. For his own part, he would say, "let no Catholic nor Orangeman be on it." Before such a Committee let the Catholic have an opportunity of showing the mischief which emanates from these secret associations of Orangemen, and let the Orangeman if he could, show their beneficial results. The hon. Member concluded by again reading his Motion.
§ Mr. Henry Maxwell
rose with great pleasure to second the Motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny. He was himself an Orangeman, and proud of avowing it. Like the hon. Member, he prayed for the fullest inquiry, and hoped that the Committee to which such inquiry was intrusted, would be constituted in the most impartial manner. He concluded by expressing a hope that Government would have no objection to grant the proposed Committee.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that as the discussion on these Orange Associations had been so frequent during the present 143 Session, and as there appeared to be an universal, or, at any rate, a common desire on both sides of the House, to investigate into their nature, constitution, and tendency, he would, without answering a single objection propounded by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, state that it was the intention of Government to assent to his proposition. Under such circumstances, the House would feel that all discussion on the subject was premature, and ought to be deprecated. The only point on which he thought that it was necessary for them to come to an understanding that evening was, the appointment of a Committee. He thought that it would be advisable to exclude from it all party men on either side. As that appeared to be the desire of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, he would accede to his proposition, and would express a hope, that the Committee would be so appointed as to conduct its labours and investigations with perfect impartiality.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
objected to the terms in which Mr. Finn had couched his Motion, and complained that it did not go far enough, inasmuch as it did not give the Committee power to inquire into the tendency of the Orange Associations to frustrate the administration of justice in Ireland. The House had already appointed Committees to inquire into the state of society in Ireland. Those Committees had instituted long examinations, and made voluminous Reports; and, as the right hon. Secretary well knew, nothing had been done upon those Reports. This, as it had occurred before, might occur again. The House would perhaps excuse him, if, with that circumstance in his recollection, he now mentioned a number of cases which had happened within his own knowledge, in which the due course of justice had been frustrated by the influence of these Associations. He would commence by referring to what had recently taken place in his own county of Meath. It appeared that the son of an individual who had been recently promoted to the Lord-lieutenancy of that county, had been guilty of the conduct which he was now about to describe. A number of Orangemen, linked arm-in-arm together, and wearing their usual insignia, passed by a Magistrate of that county, as he was going to Church. Not knowing them, he asked where they were going; but he received no 144 satisfactory answer. It turned out that they were persons in the pay of Randal Plunkett, who, by his desire, were going to form part of an Orange procession. They were armed themselves, and were headed by a Protestant clergyman, who held a pistol in his hand. In the course of the day they drew their pistols more than once upon the inhabitants of the district through which they passed. Five of them afterwards went to a village in the county of Meath. Whilst there, a quarrel ensued between them and some of the villagers, and blood was shed. The men were put on their trial in consequence. The man whom they had assailed was a Roman Catholic, and it was put to the High Sheriff how the affair could be settled. He believed that the right hon. Secretary would bear him out when he said that the Attorney-General (Mr. Blackburne) had not ordered any Crown prosecution in the case of the murder of the man Henry. The matter, however, was settled in this: they got a jury empanelled to try the indictment, consisting of six Catholics and six Protestants. This was to all outward appearance fair enough—but what was the result? The jury could not agree, and if any man had shown him the names of those jurors before they were empanelled, he would have ventured to predict from his own knowledge of their habits and characters, that they would not agree. They did not agree, and by this proceeding the due execution of justice was frustrated. When the officers of the law interfered in this manner in Ireland with criminal proceedings, and when they attended Orange meetings, at which toasts of the most exasperating description were drunk with enthusiasm, it was impossible that the minds of the people of Ireland should not be filled with strong doubts that justice would not be done to them, whenever they had any dispute with any member of an Orange Association. In four counties in Ireland, Cavan, Antrim, Armagh, and Tyrone, there had been large Orange meetings, and in all and each of them the High Sheriff had been called to the chair. In Cavan and Antrim two of the toasts had been, "The glorious, pious, and immortal memory," and "The Protestant ascendancy in Church and State." He believed that in both places the parties who assembled were staunch friends of the right hon. Baronet opposite, for the re- 145 ports stated that "The health of Sir Robert Peel was drunk amid thunders of applause." In the county of Armagh they drank, with similar honours, "The health of Lord Roden and the Orange Lodges." In the county of Tyrone they went further. One of the toasts was, "The man who would not barter his principles for emolument—Lord Farnham." Another toast was, "Colonel Verner and the Orangemen." A third, "May Protestantism flourish all over the earth, until not a vestige of Popery is left in the creation." A fourth was, "The Pope in the pillory, the pillory in hell, and the Devil pelting him with priests." The last toast was rather out of date in the present times: it was, "May those who say their prayers on their beads, never make laws for Protestants." This toast was said to have been received with loud cheers." Those sentiments and toasts proceeded from persons to whom were confided the administration of the laws. Could, then, the House be surprised that the people in Ireland were not satisfied with that Administration, when persons who administered it, avowed their participation in such sentiments were so intimately connected with it? Several Judges had given decisive opinions as to the illegality of these Orange Associations. Among other opinions he had got the opinion of Judge Jebb, who stated that Orange processions were illegal, because they emanated from societies which were themselves illegal. At a large Orange meeting which took place at some town or village in Downshire, 150 Orange Lodges were marshaled under their different officers. ["Question!"] He asked hon. Gentlemen who called "Question," whether they made any question about the lives of their tenants? He was obliged to feel an interest in these displays, for on more than one occasion he had been obliged to retain counsel on behalf of his tenants, who had been injured in the course of them. These Orange Lodges, when thus marshalled, proceeded to Lord Roden's park, at Tullamore, where, in spite of the Duke of Northumberland's proclamation denouncing the illegality of such processions, the noble Lord addressed them in a most inflammatory, and if Lord Chatham's definition of seditious might be taken, in a most seditious speech. To show how fully he entered into their proceedings, he commenced his address to them by calling them, "My friends and brethren." The 146 noble Earl to whom he had referred described the Orange body as an exclusively Protestant Association for the support of the law and the maintenance of true religion, and declared that no honest politician could refuse to belong to such a society. The Orange institutions were for defending Protestantism, and the accession of the House of Brunswick to the Throne, and the customary oath taken was, "I swear true allegiance to George 3rd and his heirs so long as he and they support the Protestant religion, which is the true religion established by law." Lord Roden said, that no honest Protestant could refuse to belong to those institutions, and that he that did so was a Radical. The hon. and learned Recorder, and Member for the University of Dublin, favoured those societies, notwithstanding their having been pronounced illegal by his Majesty's advisers. The hon. Member next referred to divers cases in which Orangemen and Catholics met in arms. The Catholics were invariably the first to cede to the voice of the Magistrates, and in one instance when they had done so the Magistrates retired, and a scene of great confusion ensued. Houses were burnt and destroyed, and twenty-nine men were taken in arms and committed for trial. Many acts of partiality were committed by persons who thought they were justified in committing them, seeing that so many persons avowedly favourable to Orange Societies, had obtained places under the present Government. He regretted, that Government should sanction these Societies; but when he found persons of high rank and station countenancing the Orange body, he contended that it became doubly dangerous, and that the conduct of the Government in recognizing it directly or indirectly was quite inexcusable. He should be glad to see the recommendation of conciliation offered by the right hon. Baronet a few nights ago adopted. No man could rejoice more than himself to see Protestants and Roman Catholics shake hands and forget their mutual differences.
§ Mr. Hume
thought it most extraordinary that the right hon. Baronet and his Majesty's advisers should have counselled his Majesty to receive certain Addresses in the most gracious manner, and others, though of a perfectly legal character, scarcely to be acknowledged at all. Orange Addresses were received in the most gra- 147 cious manner, whilst other Addresses that he presented from the inhabitants of most respectable boroughs were received with merely the acknowledgment that they were so. The answer to the Address from the Grand District Lodge, was signed Henry Goulburn, and stated that he had the satisfaction of informing them that their Address was received in the most gracious manner. Another Orange Address was acknowledged by the Duke of Wellington in similar terms. He had presented two Addresses, one from Derby, and the other from a most respectable borough, respecting the dismissal of the late Government and the appointment of the present one, and the only answer he had was from the Secretary of the right hon. Member (Mr. Goulburn), stating on the part of Mr. Secretary Goulburn that the Address was received. There was nothing in the answer intimating that his Majesty had received the Address in the most gracious manner. One of those Addresses was transmitted to the Duke of Wellington, and no answer whatever was received to it. Was this partiality or was it not? And could the country have confidence in men that sanctioned such proceedings? Here were Addresses from public bodies, acknowledged to be legal, received almost without acknowledgment; whilst others from illegal bodies were most graciously received. This was not fair; it was most unfair and unjust, and being so was most unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman opposite.
Mr. Secretary Goulburn
said, that as there was no disposition on the part of Government to oppose the appointment of a Committee, he thought the present discussion uncalled for, and that it was scarcely necessary for himself or his right hon. Friends to make any observation on the subject. On a former occasion he had stated, that whatever Addresses were presented during his occupation of office had been treated precisely in accordance with previous precedents. The general rule and practice at the Home-office was this—where Addresses were forwarded, approving of the course taken by the existing Government, the answer was invariably that given in the cases complained of by the hon. Member for Middlesex, so where Addresses supported views to which it might be supposed from the policy of Government the Crown was opposed, the other course of a simple acknowledg- 148 ment was pursued. He only wished the hon. Gentleman had read to the House the Addresses of which he spoke, and the answers. It would appear, that in the latter there was nothing to recognize the bodies addressing, but that the Addresses had been received as from certain persons who signed them. This was acting in accordance with established precedents, and implied no intention on the part of the Government to recognize Societies constituted as Gentlemen opposite described these to be. The answers merely contained that gracious acknowledgment which it was customary for the Crown to afford to those Addresses which were dictated in accordance with its presumed sentiments. It was not necessary to enter further into the subject. It might be convenient to attack the individual holding the Seals of the Home-office, and to attempt to discredit the Government by such remarks as had been made on this occasion, but he doubted the wisdom or policy of such a course, which tended rather to create the impression complained of by Gentlemen opposite, by attaching undue importance to what after all was merely a formal proceeding in conformity with the ordinary course in such matters.
§ Mr. Sheil
The right hon. Gentleman stated his desire to avoid a recognition of Orange Societies, but he called the right hon. Gentleman's notice to one answer, which stated—"I have had the honour to lay before the King, the loyal and dutiful Address of the Brotherhood Club." Was not that a recognition of an Orange Society? Another answer was—"I have had the honour to lay before the King the loyal and dutiful Address signed by yourself (the Secretary) and others of the Orange Lodge No. 903." Yet, in the face of these replies, the right hon. Gentleman ventured to deny his recognition of Orange Lodges. In his opinion, the Government had clearly manifested a disposition to sanction such Societies. Persons holding the highest offices in them were courted and promoted. This was the charge brought against Ministers. Did the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department forget a Motion formerly made by a Member of the present Cabinet, a Mr. Goulburn, for a Committee to inquire into the Constitution of Societies calling themselves Orangemen, though the Government to which the right hon. Gentleman now be- 149 longed had proceeded on a recognition of I those Societies? These were charges which the Government could not escape, or reply to, before the tribunal of public opinion.
would not be tempted to enter into a discussion of the subject; but he was perfectly ready to meet particular charges. That the Brotherhood Club was an Orange Society he solemnly declared, he did not know till he heard the hon. and learned Gentleman assert it. Were there no Clubs that occasionally addressed the King—Odd Fellows and others? And how were they to be discriminated? He would lay the Address of the Brotherhood Club on the table, to show that it afforded no evidence of proceeding from an Orange Society; the answer had been given under that impression. With respect to the other Address of the Orange Lodge, No. 903, if the hon. and learned Gentleman looked carefully at the answer, he would see that it avoided any recognition of the Society, and simply acknowledged the receipt of the Address as that of the individuals who signed it. He complained of the unfair imputations of a design to encourage and maintain Orange Societies. Such a charge was unfounded when made against the Government, and especially unjust when directed against an individual who, as the hon. Member for Tipperary admitted, had introduced measures to put down those Societies; and at a time when the attempt entailed on him much undeserved unpopularity.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that he had received a letter in reference to a statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, on a former evening, relative to Mr. Robinson, a statement to which he (Sir Henry Hardinge) did not attach much importance at the time. The writer (Mr. Robinson) stated, that the hon. and learned Member was altogether incorrect in his allusions to him—that he was not an Orangeman or Member of any Conservative Society, and that he had not the honour to be nephew to Lord Farnham. He could also state, that the individuals mentioned as being improperly appointed by the Lord-lieutenant were not Orangemen or partisans, as stated by the hon. Member. The fact was, that in every act of the Government there was the utmost desire to treat Orangemen and Ribandmen with the strictest impartiality. The hon. Member for Meath had alluded to a murder 150 at the town of Kells, and thrown out an imputation against the Attorney General for improper conduct in the prosecution of the parties accused. The hon. Member was altogether mistaken in his allegation, there were no attempts made to procure an acquittal. So far from the law-officer of the Crown having prosecuted, the fact was, that he abstained from doing so at the desire of relatives of the deceased. He expressed his willingness to prosecute if called on, but had no wish to undertake the case if the relatives did not desire it. The trial, therefore, came on at the instance of the private prosecutor, who employed eminent counsel to conduct the case. The case was such that the acquittal of the prisoners was expected after the Jury had been locked up; but the Jury having remained together three days without agreeing on a verdict they were discharged. Such were the facts of the case, as stated to him in a letter from the Crown Solicitor. It therefore appeared that the imputation that the Crown Solicitor prosecuted, and was anxious for an acquittal of the accused, was inconsistent with the fact. Six Catholics, and six Protestants were on the Jury, and they could not agree.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
thought, that when loyal and dutiful Addresses (such as he had been intrusted with by his countrymen) were presented, in which the Ministers in whom his Majesty had reposed confidence up to the 15th of November last were approved of, they ought to be received with the common forms of acknowledgment, as well as Addresses from Orangemen, in which those Ministers were termed "revolutionary."
said, an hon. Member opposite had alluded to an outrage that recently took place in Enniskillen (the town he had the honour to represent). He could tell the hon. Gentleman, that the transaction occurred in consequence of an irruption of several thousand Ribandmen from Leitrim and adjoining counties. He would not undertake to say, who were right, or who were wrong on that occasion; but this he knew, that the sufferers were Protestants—one individual being killed on the spot, and another mortally wounded.
§ Lord Clements
said, that he had received a letter from Leitrim only the other day, stating the great increase of Orange Lodges since the accession of the present 151 Government to power. The writer remarked upon it as an extraordinary circumstance, that a Ministry professing to enforce the law should require the assistance of bodies, formerly stigmatized by Members of the present Cabinet as illegal.
§ Mr. Wyse
corroborated the statement of the noble Lord, as to the increase of Orange Societies since the accession to office of the present Government. It was not sufficient that Members of the Administration deprecated such things, the House and the country looked not to their words, but their acts. It was seen how the Government deprecated an Orange outrage in the theatre of Dublin! Had a green flag been exhibited at the theatre over the Marquess Wellesley's head, with an inscription of "No tithes," and if no notice were taken of the transaction, we should have heard the Whig Government denounced as "revolutionary" by the Orange party. When like conduct was displayed by Orangemen, why had there not been a word of reproof from the Lord-lieutenant?
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that as an indirect allusion had been made to the exhibition of an Orange flag in a box above that in which the Lord-lieutenant sat on his visit to the theatre, he begged to say, that Lord Haddington was much displeased at the occurrence, and on the following day the Lord Mayor called on Lord Haddington, and expressed his regret at what had taken place. He would only ask hon. Members opposite, how Lord Haddington could have prevented the exhibition which was complained of?
§ Mr. Ward
was rejoiced to find, that his Majesty's Government had done justice to the Motion before the House, by admitting the necessity of the inquiry asked for. He had strong feelings on the subject, and he would tell the gallant Officer, that he had derived his opinions from that which the gallant Officer would consider a legitimate source. He took his impressions from a work of the noble Lord the Member for Hertford, who published some years ago—a work entitled "Three Months in Ireland, by a Protestant." The noble Lord's opinion—[Lord Mahon rose, but was called to "Order."] If the work were not the production of the noble Lord, he was very sorry to quote his name as an authority. The hon. Member read an extract from the above work, in which the author observed, that "whilst in England there 152 were very few Orangemen; whereas, in Ireland they ruled the country with a rod of tyranny; but that now they were reduced to fruitless rancour, &c." He did not quote this with the intention to misinterpret the opinions of the noble Lord, though he thought the sentiments he had quoted would do him, or any man, great credit.
§ Lord Mahon
felt quite sure, that after a charge so personal, and so unexpected, as that which had just been brought against him by the hon. Member for St. Alban's, the House, with that regard for justice, which he had always observed a British House of Commons disposed to manifest towards private individuals, would allow him to trespass on their attention for a very few moments. He had been accused of being the author of a work called "Three Months in Ireland." He utterly disavowed being the author of it; it had been published some years before; and he could solemnly avow, that he had never seen or heard it ascribed to him, until within a few weeks ago, when he saw it imputed to him in an anonymous pamphlet. The hon. Gentleman said, it was sold in his (Lord Mahon's) name. This was the first time he had ever heard of it; and unless the hon. Gentleman stated the fact from his own knowledge, he could not believe the assertion. For what he had written he was willing to answer; but it was most unfair, under any circumstances whatever, to charge a man with being the author of an anonymous work, simply because it was very difficult for a mere denial to carry with it sufficient weight. If this were intended as an attack on his political character, he appealed both to the House generally, and to Gentlemen opposite, to whom he was politically opposed, whether he had ever swerved from the principles he professed, or hesitated to maintain them with honour, integrity, and consistency. The debate had been prolonged by hon. Gentlemen who had prepared speeches, and did not like to be disappointed. He hoped they would have the satisfaction of hearing some more, but he trusted they would not be couched in that character of personalities which had disgraced the preceding part of the debate, and which could not fail to impress the country with an opinion of their proceedings, far from honourable to the deliberation of that House. He might have taken this opportunity of recriminating upon the hon. Member for St. Alban's, if he were 153 so disposed, by adverting to charges which were recorded against him; he would not do so. [Cries of "Name."] Well, then, he alluded to the hon. Member's mission to Mexico, which gave rise to serious charges against him.
§ Mr. Ward
said, that the noble Lord, whilst disclaiming personalities, had made an attack upon him which was most unfounded and untrue. He would not deny that in the course of his mission to Mexico, circumstances occurred, which, though most painful to his feelings, were not injurious to his character. He acknowledged frankly, and fully, that he committed an error upon that occasion; but Mr. Canning, in, he believed, one of the last letters he ever wrote, told him, that he was perfectly satisfied with his explanation regarding it, and that he stood as high in his estimation as before. That was his distinct answer to the charge which the noble Lord, flushed he supposed with a few weeks' possession of office, had most unfairly, most wantonly, if not cruelly, brought against one, who never injured him. The noble Lord seemed to think, that he (Mr. Ward) had brought a charge against him by erroneously attributing to him the authorship of a pamphlet, of the opinions contained in which the noble Lord needed not to be ashamed. He was led into the mistake in consequence of seeing the noble Lord mentioned as the author in the pamphlet which the noble Lord had referred to, and when he sent to his bookseller for "Lord Mahon's work on Ireland," he sent him the "Three Months in Ireland." He would not press the matter further at that moment, but he called upon the noble Lord, after consulting with Mr. Planta, who was acquainted with all the circumstances connected with his mission to Mexico, to declare from his place in the House, on some future occasion, whether the statement he had made relative to Mr. Canning being perfectly satisfied with his explanation, was or was not correct.
§ Lord Mahon
said, he would at once declare, that the transaction to which he alluded, in no degree affected the personal character of the hon. Member. He regretted that he had alluded to the subject at all; but he felt that he had himself been personally attacked. Again he must express his regret that he had alluded to the matter in question.
§ The Motion was agreed to, and the Committee appointed.
§ Committee of Supply postponed.