§ Mr. Hume
rose to bring before the House the Motion relative to Orange Lodges, of which he had given notice. It would be recollected that on the 4th of August last he had brought forward the question of Orange Lodges generally. The evidence taken before the Committee appointed to inquire into the subject of Orange Lodges, afforded to his mind so much evidence, and so many strong facts, that it had appeared to him absolutely necessary that the last Session of Parliament should not terminate without the House coming to some Resolution oft the subject. It would be recollected, that in pursuance of a motion made by him, the evidence, so far as it was taken, was laid on the Table of the House. He then sub- 780 mitted to the House certain Resolutions, the object of which was to bring the nature and tendencies of Orange Lodges clearly before it, with the view of urging upon Parliament the decision of a question, the settlement of which appeared to him essentially necessary to the welfare and peace of the country. The noble Lord at the head of the Home Department, however, suggested to him that it would be better to limit the Resolutions to one branch of the subject—to Orange Lodges in the army, and to take the opinion of the House thereupon. Knowing that the system was making fearful inroads, and seeing that it was gradually tending to sap and undermine the discipline of the Army, he complied with the noble Lord's suggestion. He now begged to move that the Resolutions agreed to on the 11th of August, to which day the motion was adjourned, should be read. He should then submit a proposition, to which he considered it the duty of the House to lend its most attentive consideration, with the view of remedying what he could not but consider a serious evil existing at the present moment in this country. (The Resolutions of the 1lth of August having been read, the hon. Member proceeded.) In consequence of the Address of that House, his Majesty issued orders to his Commander-in-Chief, to the effect that any military officer or soldier who attended any Orange Lodge, should be liable to be tried by a court-martial. Notwithstanding this command of his Majesty, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland had, as it seemed to him, equally set at defiance the orders of the King and the Address of that House. It would be his object to show more immediately, before he sat down, the ends which his Royal Highness had in view in pursuing this course; and this he should endeavour to show from documents which had come into his possession. In consequence of Colonel Fairman having refused to furnish the Committee with the evidence they required, and having avoided the Speaker's warrant, and having thus evaded the production of the documents which were stated to be, and which he (Mr. Hume) really believed to have been, in his possession, of a very serious and important nature, papers had been put into his hands purporting to be documents connected with Orange Lodges, which would show the manner in which those Lodges had been 781 conducted, and the mode in which their proceedings had been carried on, besides proving attempts to organize troops to carry into effect their objects, whatever they might be. It was his intention to bring the question of Orange Lodges fully and completely before the House: it would be for them to decide whether they would submit to have their Resolutions and the King's orders set at nought by a man at the head of the Army, who ought to have set a better example, and to have better remembered what was due to his station, his allegiance, and his name. The Duke of Gordon had, in the end, acted very properly. It appeared that he had no idea of, or at any rate had forgotten, the existence of the general orders of 1822 and 1829, which were entered in his regimental books, and which every Serjeant in his corps had an opportunity of perusing if he pleased. They appeared, however, not to have attracted his attention until the issuing of the order of the 31st of August, when a Grand Lodge was held, at which the Duke of Cumberland presided. He had been informed, within the last twenty-four hours, that, in spite of all the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Cumberland had presided, no longer since than Thursday last, at an Orange Lodge in Portman-square. It was proved, too, that his Royal Highness, holding his Majesty's Commission, not content with disobeying the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, had received and answered an address from a Grand Orange Lodge at Longford. He held that answer—which had been published—in his hand, and in it he assured all Orangemen that they might depend upon him; that nothing should induce him to desert the cause of Orangeism; that nothing, in fact, should induce him to withdraw from that association, until his brother, the Sovereign of this country, had declared no soldier should attend without rendering himself amenable to a Court-martial. This was not the time to tell that House, or the country, that the Duke of Cumberland received no individual pay. He had received honour, he was a Field Marshal, he stood on the army list of England; and he hoped that House would not allow him to act in utter disregard of its expression of opinion, and the orders of his Majesty. He would come now to the proceedings which had taken place since he first brought the subject under the notice of 782 the House, and to the present state of the question. At the time of his making the motion of the 11th of August, which the House was pleased to support, one folio volume of evidence had been laid on the Table. Hon. Gentlemen who had paid attention to the subject, would find that the second volume contained the third report of the Committee at large, and another had since been laid on the Table of the House. Every page of these volumes seemed to him to contain matter of the most serious importance, and well worthy the grave consideration of the House. After the 11th of August, in consequence of information he had received respecting the extent of Orangeism in England and Scotland, the accuracy of which was denied by the Duke of Cumberland, and also by the Commander-in-Chief, he was induced to submit to the House a Motion for inquiry. That inquiry was accorded; and its results had also been laid before the House in another portly volume. These three volumes were now lying on the Table of the House, and he begged their attention once for all to the fact, that nineteen-twentieths of the evidence contained in them was either produced by officers of the institution, or collected from existing documents. The portion of evidence taken from other individuals was extremely small, and looking to the nature of the great majority of it, there could be little of cavil, dispute, or denial. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had stated the other evening, that the impartiality of the evidence and the fairness of the Committee had been arraigned. On what ground, or on what principle, he was at a loss to understand: perhaps he should hear from hon. Gentlemen opposite. With regard to the Committee on Orange Lodges in England, he had heard no doubt of its impartiality or fairness expressed; and he begged the House particularly to observe, that the documents in the appendix were in the first instance prepared by the Secretary to the Grand Lodge, and submitted to the Grand Master, before they were finally decided on. By the Resolutions which had just been read, the House had affirmed the existence of upwards of 1,500 lodges in Ireland, and 350 in England—institutions of an exclusive nature, from which Catholics were carefully shut out, and which were enrolled for the avowed object of opposing their creed. An observation which fell from the right hon. and learned 783 learned member for the University of Dublin, a few nights since, had made a great impression on his mind. In the last sentence uttered by the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the occasion to which he referred, he said that Catholics were the natural enemies of Protestants. ["No, No,"] He certainly had understood the right hon. and learned Gentleman so; it would appear by all the proceedings of the Protestant party in Ireland that they thought so most undoubtedly. It had been further declared that the constitution of these societies was illegal, at any rate that they came within the provisions of the Corresponding Act, consisting, as it did, of a vast number of minor branches in constant correspondence with a central board, and receiving instructions and orders from it. The question of the legality or illegality of these bodies, he (Mr. Hume) would not enter into; he would leave it to his hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, who would most probably second the Motion, and address himself to that part of the subject. It was sufficiently proved that there were in existence a large body of Orangemen, amounting, according to their own calculation, to 200,000 men in Ireland, and 100,000 men in England. Whether this was a correct estimate of their numbers or not, it was not for him to decide, but as nearly as he could calculate, taking the medium between the varying statements of Orangemen themselves, he should say that their numbers in Ireland were from 150,000 to 220,000. They boasted that it was in their power to call forth large bodies, selected from this great mass; for proof that they could do so, he need only refer to one instance which occurred in 1834, when 75,000 men were assembled at one time at Hillsborough; and cases were constantly occurring of the assemblage of 10,000, 20,000, or 30,000 men, at the summons of the Grand Master of the district. Could any man doubt that such institutions called imperatively for the interference of that House, more especially when he reflected on the unfortunate and distressed situation of Ireland. Were these institutions to be borne, when the people of Ireland, dissatisfied and discontented, were driven to desperation, and urged to defy the law, and to take their redress into their own hands? Orange lodges alone had not created the dreadful condition in which the Irish people were plunged, he knew 784 perfectly well; but they had done much to aggravate and perpetuate their miseries and misfortunes. No reasonable man could doubt, that in a country like Ireland, where seven-eighths of the population were Catholics, and where they had been so long labouring under Protestant ascendancy, and the oppression of a denial of civil rights, the people must be aggravated by the existence of such bodies. He found that in the year 1811, Orange lodges were described by Judge Fletcher, in his charge to the grand jury, as a serious evil. He told them that, in his opinion, they had fomented much of the disorder that existed; that they tended to prevent the due administration of justice; that they tended, in short, to render the Catholics discontented and dissatisfied, and to plunge the country into the state in which it was at the moment of his addressing them. He could not but think it must be matter of deep regret to every man in that House, who had watched the progress of Ireland from 1811 to the present day, that the right hon. Baronet opposite, and every successive administration, with the charges of Judges before them, with breaches of the peace and violations of the law daily and hourly recurring, and with the excesses of Orangemen constantly before their eyes, should have allowed these mischievous and illegal associations to continue in existence. But, independently of the mischievous effects which resulted from the centralization and correspondence of Orange Lodges, let it not be forgotten that they were armed, and that blood upon blood had been shed in consequence of these men being pre-eminently prepared—if he might use the term—to disturb the public peace, to concentrate their numbers, to employ their arms in concert, and to commit any act of vengeance or violence against the Catholics. Could any man doubt, knowing the acts of aggression—ay, the murders—which had been committed by the Orange party in Ireland, that the Government should long ago have disarmed these dangerous bodies? Well did he recollect what passed in that House when the right hon. Gentleman who now filled the chair and the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire brought forward the question of Orange Lodges, when they challenged them as detrimental to the peace and happiness of the country, and brought before Parliament the facts of their existence, of their making 785 use of secret signs, and of their being banded together in opposition to the people. Well did he recollect the reply, that no such things existed, that it was mere rumour, and that such vague and unfounded reports were unworthy the attention of Parliament. The evidence now on the Table proved beyond denial that such ft state of things did actually exist; that from it the most lamentable, the most disastrous, the most deplorable results, had ensued. The existence of Orange Lodges gave rise to Ribbon Lodges; the existence of either was fatal to the peace and quiet of any country. He could show, that as Orangeism had spread in Scotland the peace of the country had been disturbed, and the blood of its people shed. He would show that this had been occasioned by the introduction and extension of Orangeism, under the fostering influence and protection of the Grand Lodge and Grand Master in England, In Airdrie, on the 1st of July, a large body of Orangemen, had assembled and committed violence against the Catholics, and insulted their religion. What was the consequence? Why, that on the 15th of the same month, upwards of 10,000 Catholics assembled on Glasgow-green, and marched from thence to Airdri in order to be revenged on their assailants. At about the same period of the following year, the Catholics assembled, made their arrangements, collected their numbers, and in their own defence, raised a formidable force to prevent a repetition of the outrages of the preceding year. Who could tell what might have resulted from a conflict between two such bodies, but for the excellent behaviour of the townspeople? Who could exaggerate the evils which such scenes must always produce? The evidence proved that in Ireland, when Orange processions or meetings took place, the Orangemen appeared armed, having along with them, generally, not only the gentlemen of the country, but magistrates, deputy-lieutenants, clergymen and others who ought to know better, but who used the advantages of their influence and station to oppress the people. Every page of the evidence proved these meetings and processions, and this description of attendance, to an extent which those who had not read it could scarcely form any idea of. He could only say, that strongly as he felt on the subject of Orange Lodges in August last, and dangerous as he thought them to the 786 Government and the peace of the country, the facts which had been elicited by the inquiry proved to him the impossibility of peace being preserved in any country where such institutions remained. His present object was, that the Government should take some strong measures to put down Orange Lodges in every case, as they had already done by their resolution in the case of the army. Unless they did this, he conceived, they would neglect their first duty. Their first duty was to protect the oppressed. How did they discharge it, when they stood calmly by, and witnessed the outrageous proceedings of these armed bodies? It was difficult to imagine how such processions, and such conduct as the evidence described, could ever have been tolerated. Judge Fletcher, in a charge delivered on the 5th of August, 1815, said—"He had found, from experience, that those societies called Orange Societies, had produced the most mischievous effects, particularly in the North of Ireland. They poisoned the very fountains of justice, and even some Magistrates, under their influence, had, in too many instances, violated their duty." The learned Judge did not hesitate to say, that all associations in Ireland, whether of Orangeism or Ribbonism, whether distinguished by the colour of orange or green—all persons bound together by oath, leagued for a common purpose, endangering the peace of the country—were contrary to law; and he added, "that should it ever happen to him to have to decide the question, he would send down bills of indictment to the Grand Jury against the individuals who were members of such associations." Of this Judge Fletcher was certain, that so long as these associations were permitted to act in the lawless manner they then did, there would be no tranquillity in that country, particularly in the north of Ireland, where those disturbers of the public peace, Orange yeomen, as they were termed, frequented fairs and public places, with arms in their hands, under pretence of preserving the public peace, but really for the purpose of excluding Ribbonmen and putting them down. "Murders (said the learned Judge) had been frequently committed, and though disastrous consequences had ensued, such had been the influence of these associations, that petty jurors had declined, on some occasions, to do their duty. These were his senti- 787 ments, not merely as an individual, but as a judge discharging his duty by expressing his opinion of these associations, whose only proceedings were the raking up of embittering recollections, and inflicting wounds upon the feelings of others; and he did emphatically state it as his opinion, that until they were put down, and their arms taken from them, it was in vain, in the north of Ireland, to expect peace." Such were Judge Fletcher's sentiments; and after twenty years more of the same facts, the same evils, and the same results, with a constant repetition of the same scenes in a greater or less degree, he (Mr. Hume) called upon the Government, and upon that House, to adopt some bold and definitive measure for remedying such a monstrous grievance, and putting down such odious bodies. He asked, was justice administered now in Ireland? The evidence proved that it was not—that the members of these bodies interfered and tampered with it in all its stages. There were instances of Magistrates having refused to take examinations against men charged with murder, or of postponing it so long as to deny justice to the relative's of the murdered man in a thousand cases. There were instances of men charged with murder upon oath, being permitted to escape, without one effort to detain them. The case of Hamilton, and many others of a similar description, were so well known, and so completely proved, that he should but fatigue the House by entering into one-twentieth part of them. When he saw the source of justice polluted—when he saw insult upon insult, and oppression upon oppression—when he saw Magistrates influenced by party feeling, regardless alike of justice and of decency—he was indeed astonished that Secretary after Secretary, and Lord-lieutenant after Lord-lieutenant, should have witnessed such scenes without an effort to abolish them, What were the proofs before the House which no man could controvert? Orangemen had been allowed to carry arms, where Catholics had not; and arms intended to be used to protect the public peace and maintain the authority of the Government and the supremacy of the law, had been proved, in a hundred instances, to have been used by Orangemen against the Catholics of Ireland. Talk of doing justice to Ireland! Was not the name of justice a mockery, and was it not a mockery to expect that the people of 788 Ireland could continue to suffer under daily insults and aggressions like those detailed in the evidence? Let him refer the House to Captain Duff's report, dated 27th of April, 1832: "Sir, I have the honour to communicate, for the information of his Excellency the Lord-lieutenant, that between the hours of twelve and one o'clock this day, a large body of Orangemen, in number from four to five thousand, marched into this town in regular procession, carrying twenty-four stand of colours, their bands playing 'The Protestant Boys,' in front; and leading the procession, I observed the following gentlemen, decorated with orange and purple:—First-Lieutenant, Colonel William Verner—(the hon. Member opposite, he believed)—a Deputy-Lieutenant of this county, as also a Magistrate for it, and the county of Armagh." After mentioning Mr. Joseph Grier, also Magistrate, and a captain of yeomanry, Mr. Jackson Lloyd, a captain of yeomanry, and other gentlemen not holding any commission under his Majesty's Government, the witness continued—"As the procession was marching round the town in the order before mentioned, some insulting language was made use of towards them, by four or five Roman Catholics, on which a riot ensued; stones were throne by each party; the Roman Catholics retreated, and when, on their retreat, either two or three pistol-shots were fired on them by the Orangemen, one of which took effect, and broke the left arm, close to the elbow, of a man named Peter Sally, a Roman Catholic." In another part of his evidence he said, "I observed Colonel Verner leading, and in front of the procession, decorated with orange and purple, and I have (he honour to enclose herewith, for the Lord-lieutenant's information the affidavits of one Serjeant and two privates of the constabulary under my command, who not only observed Colonel Verner in the manner I reported, but saw him distinctly take off his hat, and cheer the procession he was leading." Further on he said, "Colonel Verner not only headed the procession through the streets of Dungannon, decorated with an orange scarf, but he was 'pledged' to do so, four or five days previous to the procession of the 27th of April taking place, stating at the same time that he was regardless of the consequences." This was only one of a number of similar instances, He would state 789 another: "About the 8th of July (said Mr. Duff) I received information that the Orangemen would assemble near Dungannon, at Mr. Lowry's, of Rockdale, instead of Dungannon their usual place of meeting, and I wrote to Sir William Gosset, apprising him of the circumstance, and begging to know whether I was to proceed there, or send any force; and I received his orders to proceed there, and make a full report of what took place. I did proceed there, and this is my report, dated Dungannon, 13th of July, 1832:—'Sir, I have the honour to report, for the information of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, that the Orangemen of this district yesterday assembled in the demesne of Mr. Lowry, of Rockdale, Magistrate, in this county, and from thence inarched in procession to Mr. Grier's, of Desnerith. From the ground the procession occupied, there could not have been less, at the lowest calculation, than from 8,000 to 9,000 Orangemen decorated with scarfs, emblems, &c. &c., having sixty stand of colours, and forty bands playing party tunes; and 230 of them arrived with muskets, independent of concealed arms. After remaining for some short time at Mr. Grier's, they marched off in the most peaceable manner, by divisions, to the respective Lodges, and up to this hour all has been perfectly tranquil in respect of outrage having reached me. The procession was headed by several gentlemen of respectability and property in this part of the country. The only persons I observed as holding commissions under the Government were the following: Hon. A. G. Stuart, Deputy-lieutenant, as also a Magistrate for this county, and captain of the Killyman corps of yeomanry, horse decorated with orange and purple, but none on his person; Mr. Grier, a Magistrate for this county, as also for Armagh—the only emblem on this gentleman was that of his office of Grand Master of the county, namely, a medal suspended from an orange riband round his neck; third, Mr. Lowry, jun., captain of the Cameroy corps of yeomanry, decorated with an orange and purple scarf; fourth, Mr. Lloyd, second captain of the Killyman corps of yeomanry. The persons above named are all I observed in the procession, though I have received positive information that the Earl of Castle Stuart headed a procession in his neighbourhood. His second son, the hon. Charles Stuart, was decorated, and marched in the pro- 790 cession from Mr. Lowry's to Mr. Grier's; several clergymen of the Established Church also attended." These were only a few of the very many instances of this description of conduct on the part of public functionaries in Ireland which he could submit to the House. Now, he wished to know how was it possible for the noble Lord opposite (Stanley), when the lists of the Magistrates of the different counties in Ireland were submitted to him for revision, to allow those to remain who had so far forgotten their duties when in office as to connect themselves with these institutions? During his administration of the affairs of Ireland names of individuals on the list of Magistrates, who were also connected with the Orange Institution, must have frequently come under his attention. How could he have reconciled it with his sense of duty to permit these individuals to remain on the list of Magistrates? He would put it to the rankest Orangeman in that House, or out of it either, whether it was not impossible that, under such a system as that to which he had referred, peace could possibly exist in Ireland? Culpable, however, as were the Orangemen, they were not one-tenth as much to blame as the Government of the period in which such things had occurred. The Administration of that time, he repeated, was in the highest degree culpable; nor could he imagine how Lord Grey's Government had been so far imposed upon. Let the House look, for example, to the effect of their appointment of Lord Caledon as Lieutenant of the county Tyrone. What was his first act, as if in requital of the kindness of Lord Grey's Government? Why, to call and preside over a meeting of Orangemen at Dungannon, to address his Majesty, thanking him for dismissing the Whig Government. For his part, he had only to observe that the Government deserved it, for having made the appointment at all. They thought probably that they would have been enabled to conciliate the Orangemen. Conciliate an Orangeman, indeed! No; they might as well have thought they would have been able to conciliate the most intractable creature in existence; and it was to him utterly incomprehensible how Lord Grey's Government could have played, as they did, into the hands of the Orange party in Ireland. But when the heads of the Orange party acted in that manner, what was to be expected from the subalterns? When the 791 Lieutenant of the county and its body of Magistracy were found thus banded together in the cause of faction, was it to be supposed that the mass of those who constituted Juries and the police and constabulary of the county would be better disposed towards the cause of good government and impartial justice. With respect to the Juries, he should merely remark that for thirty years not a Roman Catholic had been appointed on the Grand Jury of Fermanagh. How could it be expected that justice would be administered under such a system. The evidence of Lord Gosford was conclusive upon the subject of Orange Juries. In reply to a question put to him by the Committee, he said he had known one or two Juries which were not Orange. Some other witnesses, too, had deposed that they knew "of one or two cases in which the Juries (in the county of Fermanagh, as we understood the hon. Member) were not Orange." When such was the manner of administering justice, was it to be wondered at that the people of Ireland should hold the law in contempt and look for justice at their own hands. When he (Mr. Hume) had heard a noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) detail to the House a series of outrages which had taken place in Ireland, and to which he referred for a justification of the Coercion Bill, he was at a loss to account for the cause of their existence, of which he was, in matter of fact, exceedingly sceptical. But when he came to read, or rather to hear the evidence given before the Orange Institution Committee, he was no longer at a loss to account for the insubordination, the existence of which had been referred to by the noble Lord. He could easily imagine how men might be driven by such a state of things as was described to crime, either as a measure of self-defence or of wild revenge. Here were the very sources of justice polluted, even before the people's eyes; Lords-lieutenant, Magistrates, Juries, constables, and police, the entire legislative and executive of what was called Irish justice, bound together in the bonds of this peace-destroying association. Ay, and it was too much to be feared that the very Judges of the land were strongly biassed by the influence, at least, in favour of the objects of this association. He did not mean to say that such was positively the fact, but most certainly such an opinion generally existed amongst the people of Ireland, and was calculated to destroy 792 all confidence in the administration of justice. Having so far trespassed on the House in tracing the effect of this institution, he declared his conviction that his Majesty's Government, if they acted consistently with their professed determination, to do equal justice to all parties in Ireland, should dismiss from all civil, as well as military offices, those who were connected with the Orange institution. It was deemed essential, in order to the maintenance of military discipline, to issue an order from the Horse Guards forbidding any soldiers to belong to the institution. Now he wanted to know why should not the same principle be applied to civil officers. If his Majesty's Government refused to do so, he (Mr. Hume) for one could not believe that they were discharging their duty to the people of Ireland or the empire at large. They would, in fact, stand condemned in his opinion. He was gratified, however, to be able to say that the principle for which he contended was at present being acted upon in Ireland. If there was anything for which Lord Mulgrave deserved more particular credit in his government of Ireland, it was for his determined exclusion of all Orangemen from civil employments. In this Lord Mulgrave was doing his duty to the Government who appointed him, and to the people over whom he ruled. He (Mr. Hume) trusted that Lord Mulgrave would persevere in this mode of administering the affairs of Ireland, and that during his government no Orangeman would find his way into a situation or appointment of any description in Ireland. If he (Mr. Hume) were right in his estimate of Lord Mulgrave's conduct, what must be the opinion of the House in reference to his predecessors? How infamous must have been their conduct who unblushingly made Orangeism the very passport to power? He should not detain the House by going through any portion of the immense mass of evidence which had been accumulated to show the state of the constabulary and police in Ireland. No one, he supposed, would be found hardy enough to deny that, instead of preserving the peace, their principal occupation was in directly violating it. He believed most sincerely that very much of the outrages existing in Ireland originated in the conduct of those bodies. He, therefore, trusted that his Majesty's Government would take means to turn out of the police and constabulary 793 force in Ireland, every individual connected with the Orange Institution. There was then that large armed body the yeomanry, many of whom were frequently transferred from the dock to the ranks of their different corps. [Oh!] Hon. Members cried Oh! but how many a time had it been proved that Roman Catholics had been shot by members of the yeomanry, and yet no punishment had been inflicted for the crime? It was fully proved before the Committee that this body was in the constant habit of attending Orange processions, and in one case it was sworn that no less than one thousand had, with arms in their hands, attended one meeting. With these facts before his eyes, could any hon. Member in that House wonder why disturbances were in the constant habit of taking place in Ireland. To show the feeling that pervaded this society, he should only mention, that upon the recent dismissal of some Orangemen, by Lord Mulgrave, at Roscrea, the brotherhood had met in very considerable numbers, and sent several addresses to the dismissed Orangemen. In fact, this spirit of opposition to his Majesty's Government, and to the impartial administration of justice, seemed to pervade all classes into which Orangeism had insinuated itself; nor could he (Mr. Hume) imagine how the country was to get rid of the enormous burden of supporting such an army as was stationed in Ireland, unless the House concurred with him in the necessity of adopting some measure for suppressing the Orange Institution, and of thus removing the principal cause of the disturbances which existed in that country. Indeed, it was at present a complete garrison; and yet what was their force of 40,000 or 50,000 soldiers, in opposition to seven millions, united by the strong bond of one common oppression? If the people were misgoverned they would combine in opposition to the law, and before that combination the army would be powerless, On the other hand, if well governed they would unite in support of the law, and the army would be useless. If then it were only from the interested motive of reducing their expenditure by reducing the army in Ireland, he called upon the House to agree with him in declaring the necessity of putting an end to the Orange Institution. To show the effect of this institution on the peace of the country, and what was the result of the connection, of certain individuals with 794 it, he should refer to the evidence of Mr. Cosmo Innes, who was examined before the Committee on Orange Lodges. In that evidence he found the following questions and answers:—"As the result of your official examination—what is the state of feeling and of peace in those towns in which Orange Lodges have been established?" "Whoever Orange Lodges have been established and active, they have been the occasion of continual breaches of the peace, either by their processions, which have been opposed, or by the bad feeling they have produced amongst individuals." "Have you discovered any other Lodges of Ribbonmen or any other secret society existing in that part of the country?" "I cannot say that I have discovered them; I cannot speak to their constitution. They were secret—but I am aware of their existence." He (Mr. Hume) did not mean to deny their existence; but he contended they were produced by a re-action. Further in the evidence he found the following:—"Does that information lead you to conclude whether the Ribbonmen were associated for their own defence, or as assailants against Orangemen?" All my authority is a sort of police information. I know nothing of this matter, except as it tends to disturb the public peace, and the breaches of the peace in Scotland on these matters have originated, certainly, in processions of Orange Lodges. I am not aware of any demonstration of Ribbonmen which has called for any opposition." "Does the private information which you have received lead you to believe that this riot and these proceedings on the part of the Catholics, has been a re-action against the associations of the Orangemen?" "Certainly." "So that the Orange organisation has produced, or if not produced, greatly augmented, the Ribbon organisation?" "I think it is highly probable, though I cannot speak with certainty of that fact, that there would be no Ribbon organisation in Scotland but for the Orange organisation." So that, not content with keeping Ireland in turmoil, the members of this institution were spreading the confusion of their association through Scotland. In other parts of his evidence Mr. Innes said, that "there were four Orange Lodges in Maybole,"—that "there was at present existing a considerable animosity, in all the towns and places where there are any 795 Orange Lodges, between the Catholics and Orangemen." One Lodge, it appeared, in Scotland was called the Gordon Lodge. He was asked by a Member of the Committee, "Are the Committee to understand that it is your opinion, after the inquiry you have made officially, that the existence of those Orange Lodges has tended, generally, to excite breaches of the peace, and re-action on the part of the Catholics V To that question he replied, "To a very great degree." Again, he was asked, "Did you learn that any deputation had come from London to assist in the formation of those Lodges?" He replied, "In examining, with regard to processions, I found that the last procession, previous to this year, was in consequence of a visit from Colonel Fairman, who had travelled over the country as the emissary from the Orange Lodge of England, as I understood, and who was received, wherever he went, or in many places, by the Orangemen in procession." "Was any reference made by these people to the Duke of Cumberland?" "I have here a copy, a fac simile, of a warrant constituting a Lodge, signed by the Duke of Cumberland, and they all looked to the Duke of Cumberland as their head, and with the greatest respect." "They regard the Duke, in fact, as their political head?" "Yes; certainly." "Was any reference made by them to him in conversation?" "Yes; frequently." "What do they say of him?" "They only talk of him as the head of their society and as their Grand Master; they certainly seem to dwell upon his being the head as proving the legality and loyalty of their proceedings." It was very obvious that the Duke of Cumberland, while he was considered as Grand Master of the Orange Lodge, was proposed by the members of the institution to be considered as the successor to the Crown. In another part of his evidence Mr. Innes gave it as his opinion that the Orange and Ribbon institutions were most injurious to the peace of the country, and both ought unquestionably to be put an end to. The effect, he said, of Colonel Fairman's visit to Scotland was to increase very much the numbers of the institution, which was neither so widely extended, nor so active in its operations before he appeared there. If there were no other grounds for calling on the House promptly and effectively to interfere, sufficient ground, he thought, was exhibited in the 796 extracts he had just read. The Duke of Cumberland, he thought, wag a dangerous man, whose connection with such a society required to be carefully and closely watched. It had been mentioned by Mr. Innes, in the course of his evidence, that Colonel Fairman had made a tour of Scotland. And in connection with that evidence he held in his hand a most curious document—a copy of an itinerant warrant—authorising the admission of members upon taking certain oaths. He begged the particular attention of the House to the fact, that this warrant was issued by the Duke of Cumberland, in 1834, in accordance with the rules of 1826. Now if these rules, as it was said and sworn before the Committee, were cancelled, and no longer acted upon—why, he would ask, was this warrant issued in accordance with them. Yet, so it was—this special warrant to admit and initiate persons into the Orange Institution, concluded thus:—"Given under my hand and seal at St. James's, this 13th day of August, 1832. Ernest, Grand Master." That itinerant warrant commenced—"Whereas the Orange Association was founded in grateful remembrance of one of the most glorious achievements recorded on our historical annals, that is to say, our deliverance from Popery, and arbitrary power." Then, after a recital of considerable length, it proceeded—"Be it known, therefore, that from a knowledge of his experience, and a confidence in his integrity, our trusty, well, beloved, and right worshipful brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Fairman, master of the Metropolitan warrant, member of the Grand Committee, Deputy Grand Master of London, Acting Deputy Grand Treasurer, and Deputy Grand Secretary of the Institution, is hereby nominated, constituted delegated, and appointed to undertake the said visitation or tour of inspection, &c.;" and it further proceeds, "For these objects and general purposes, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Grand Master of the Empire, by the code of laws and ordinances of the 30th of March, 1826, &c." Still further was the influence of the institution extended by the "permission" granted by the Grand Master "under his hand and seal, given at St. James's" to form Lodges in the Ionian islands and Malta. The hon. Member then referred to the letter of the late Mr. Haywood, to show the object with which 797 the "mission" of Colonel Fairman was undertaken. In corroboration of Mr. Hay wood's statement, he begged to read the following letter from Colonel Fairman, addressed to "John Sydney Taylor, Esq. Morning Herald office"—Dear Sir—From those who may be supposed to have opportunities of knowing 'the secrets of the Castle,' the King is stated to be by no manner in so alarming a state as many folks would have it imagined. His Majesty is likewise said to dictate the bulletins of his own state of health. Some whisperings have also gone abroad, that in the event of a demise of the Crown, a Regency would probably be established, for reasons which occasioned the removal of the next in succession from the office of High Admiral. That a maritime government might not prove consonant to the views of a military chieftain of the most unbounded ambition, may admit of easy belief; and as the second heir presumptive is not alone a female but a minor, in addition to the argument which might be applied to the present, that, in the ordinary course of nature, it was not to be expected that his reign could be of long duration, in these disjointed times, it is by no means unlikely a vicarious form of Government they be attempted. The effort would be a bold one, but, after the measures we have seen, what new violations should Surprise us? Besides, the popular plea of economy and expedience might be urged as the pretext, while aggrandisement and usurpation might be the latent sole motive. It would only be necessary to make out a plausible case, which, from the facts on record, there could be no difficulty in doing, to the satisfaction of a pliable and obsequious set of Ministers, as also to the success of such an experiment.—Most truly yours,Wednesday, April 6, 1830. "W. B. F.I have scribbled this at Peel's, and if you wish it, will write a paragraph on the subject. From all that I hear, there can be little doubt the King will soon resume his rides in the Great Park, now that the drawing-room is gone by.(Private.)The above letter was returned, as there is a post-mark dated seven at night, April 6, 1830, and addressed thus:—"To Colonel Fairman, British Coffee-house, Cockspur-street." Such language many Members of that House might suppose could only originate with a maniac, but he held the original of that letter in his hand. Could the House, doubt then, the object for which the mission of Colonel Fairman was undertaken. It should be borne in mind, too, that it was in the year 1829 that his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland first attended the Grand Lodge. He would read to the House some few 798 letters to show the nature and the extent of the peculiar connexion existing between certain noblemen and the Orange Institution. The first letter he should read was dated the 27th of April, and was from Lord Kenyon to Colonel Fairman. It was as follows:—Portman-square, April 27.Dear Sir—I heartily wish I could hope to be of any use in applying at Chelsea in behalf of the writer of the inclosed. I think we had better communicate it to his Royal Highness, as he is the only person, except yourself, who can judiciously interfere in military matters connected with the Orange Institutions. I hope your attack is going off, and that we shall have a thoroughly amicable meeting next Friday. Brother Mair seems very frank and well-meaning. If you could get Mr. Knipe, who is a favorite, I think, with his Royal Highness, to attend, it would be well.Ever, my dear Sir, faithfully yours,KENYON.The next letter he should read was from the same noble Lord to the same gentleman:—Portman-square, June 13, 1833.My dear Sir—I am grieved that our valued brother Cumberland should suppose for one moment he could have given me the slightest offence. It may happen sometimes to me, as applied by Shakspeare to Brutus—'Poor Brutus with himself at war,Forgets to show his love to other men.'But I never can forget to feel it for so zealous a friend to every cause most dear to me, as our brother Cumberland has always proved himself to be. The statement you made to me before, and respecting which I have now before me particulars from Portsmouth, are out of my sphere, and should be referred, toties quoties, to his Royal Highness, as military matters of great delicacy. At the same time, private intimations, I submit, should be made to the military correspondents, letting them know how highly we esteem them as brethren. I hope the circular will soon be out.Your faithful friend and brother,KENYON.To Colonel Fairman.Here were two letters, in the first of which it was said, "as his Royal Highness, except yourself, is the only person who can interfere in military matters connected with the institution"—and in the second, "private intimations, I submit, should be made to the military correspondents—letting them know"—he begged the attention of the House to this—"letting them know how highly we esteem them as brothers. And this was written by one who had declared before a Committee that he knew not, "until very lately, 799 of the existence of Orange Lodges in the army," The next letter he should read referred to the connection of his Royal Highness with military districts:—Portman-square, July 10, 1833.My dear Sir.—I send you some anti-Roman Catholic books, which you may distribute among the following Peers—Manyers, Stradbroke, Liverpool, Harrowby, Northampton, Carnarvon, the Bishops of Llandaff, Lincoln (Warren's Hotel), &c. &c. I can say nothing as to Mr. Staveley's publication, but if done it should be forthwith, and I would take a few copies. You know much better how to manage our brethren than I do, and they must be kept together as well as they can be. If you hear anything further from the military districts, let his Royal Highness know all particulars fit to be communicated. The times I really trust are improving quietly and gradually. Let us act firmly and maintain all that is sacred, and provoke no one more than can be avoided.Believe me, my dear Sir, yours faithfully,KENYON.Next as to the appointment or election of the Grand Committee, he would read an extract from a letter to show that in this case the rule of the Grand Master was supreme:—Portman-square, May 30, 1833.My dear Sir—With respect to the composition of the Grand Committee the pleasure of his Royal Highness the Grand Master is the only rule by which its formation can properly be regulated. Its being so framed as to produce harmony in the institution will no doubt be the principle by which his Royal Highness will be guided, and I am confident that, feeling as he must do, the essential importance (especially with reference to your undertaking a new tour to consummate the zeal and harmony of which you have laid the foundation in North Britain and the northern and trading districts of England), that you and the Grand Committee should be in entire harmony and mutual confidence; that, therefore, neither brother South nor brother Morris should continue a member of it. The will of the Grand Master is conclusive, and no names ought to be submitted to his Royal Highness in Grand lodge but such as will be satisfactory to him. The suggestion at the meeting of the grand Lodge is not for the purpose of election otherwise than in accordance with the pleasure of the head of the institution, whose authority is justly declared to be supreme. You may communicate this to the Grand Committee, for we must not let our high and zealous friends who meet at the Grand Lodge be disgusted any more by discussions at those meetings. Should any such be apprehended, his Royal Highness should be informed, that he may, previous to the anniversary of June, interdict the at- 800 tendance of any brethren who would so forget themselves.Believe me, my dear Sir,Your faithful brother and friend.KENTON.To Colonel Fairman, &c. &c.He should now read another letter from the same nobleman to the same party, upon which he should not trouble the House with any commentary:—Eastwell Park, August 13th, 1833.My Dear Sir—Be so good as to send the Earl of Winchilsea, in a day or two (but not overweight, as yours of this morning is to me) the circular of June 4th, and any other circular which will contain good names and matter in it. You can say, you did it by my desire, and in hopes that he, as one of the staunchest of Protestants, would join us. I am glad to hear that several persons of judgment think we might have a Government with which the House of Commons would act. If so, it is a sad pity the Hero of Waterloo and others would not act as to have obtained such a Ministry during the existing Session. When Parliament is prorogued, it is well known nothing can be done, unless some death of importance occurs. I hope to be in town on Thursday morning, for two nights.Ever your faithful friend and brother,KENYON.[The reading of this letter was followed by laughter and cries of "Earl Spencer."]This letter let him into a secret. No doubt it alluded to the anticipated death of that venerable Peer, Earl Spencer, and this language was written by a party in intimate connection with the Duke of Cumberland.
§ Mr. Hume
observed that the expression in the letter was, "that as Parliament was prorogued, nothing can be done unless a death of importance occurs." This, at any rate alluded to some important death, which might be expected, and in his opinion, it was the death of Earl Spencer, which was anticipated. There were two or three letters published in the evidence on the table, which he considered of considerable importance. Two of these were directed to the Marquess of Londonderry, and were copies of letters purporting to be sent to that nobleman. These copies were found in a book, which was laid before the Committee. Some doubt, however, might arise as to whether they had been received or written to his Lordship, although they were entered on the book. There certainly appeared in the Report to be no answers to them; but he could only say, that he had the answer of the noble Lord to those letters 801 in his possession. The answer was dated Wynyard Park, and was directed to Lieutenant-Colonel Fairman It commenced,SIR—I was honoured with your two communications of the 29th and 30th.The object of the letters of Colonel Fairman was evidently to prepare the way to resort to physical force. The first of them was dated the 29th July, 1832. After apologising for troubling the noble Marquess with writing; to him on the subject of the affairs of the Orange Institution, and urging the importance of extending it in the north of England, he proceeds:With Mr. Wright of Sunderland, who was recently in London, I had some conversation on the great advantages that might result from an extension of such a society at this conjuncture. Conceiving its principles to be strictly in unison with those entertained by your Lordship, in the course of our communications your name was introduced, when that Gentleman said if the matter were taken up with spirit by you, the whole district would follow the example, and cheerfully join such an association. To urge, it might be political for your Lordship to do so, in a personal sense, would be to offer you a very ill compliment; but to contemplate it, as shall presently be made to appear, in a patriotic view, the security of that part of the kingdom might be consolidated by such means. The pitmen would perhaps feel inclined to establish lodges among themselves, which might operate as an additional stimulus to their loyalty, and would likewise prove a partial check against their entering into cabals hereafter, no less to the preservation of private property than to that of the public peace. Knowing that your Lordship has firmness to espouse the cause you approve, on this occasion I address you with the less reserve. When the altar and the throne are alike assailed—when infidelity and treason are boldly avowed—when a Republic and a Lord Protector are confidently spoken of—when, indeed, we have a Popish Cabinet, and a democratical Ministry, who, having given birth to a monster they can no longer control, are now alarmed at their own popularity, and are the abject slaves of a ferocious, sanguinary, and subversive Press, little short of a miracle can work the salvation of our once happy country! It behoves us, nevertheless, to exercise our energies, and, by measures at once prompt and vigorous, to stem the torrent that threatens to overwhelm us. By a rapid augmentation of our physical force, we might be able to assume a boldness of attitude which should command the respect of our Jacobinical rulers. What the Catholics and the Unionists have achieved by agitation and clamour in a factions cause, we might then be enabled to effect in a righteous one. If we prove not too strong for such a Government as the present is such a Government will 802 soon prove too strong for us; some arbitrary step would be taken in this case for the suspension of our meetings. Hence the necessity of oar laying aside that non-resistance, that passive obedience, which has hitherto been, religiously enforced to our own discomfiture. The brave Orangemen of Ireland rescued their country from rebellion, and their gallant brethren in England would as heroically redeem their own from such perils. On the one hand we have had minor difficulties to contend with, and less danger to surmount, though on the other hand we have not had the same encouragement, and an equal share of support from the higher orders. We have Lodges at Newcastle, Shields, Darlington, and round about, but they are merely trunks without heads. Unless men of staunch influence and consideration would immediately step forward as County Grand Masters (I speak advisedly), it is of no manner of use for the classes in humble life to assemble for such purposes. The field is now open to your Lordship—the post of honour is exclusively your own. If, then, your Lordship would but profit of it, you would deserve well of this country, while at such a crisis you would confer fresh confidence on your own. In a long conversation I had yesterday with Lord Longford, he intimated that the brethren of Ireland were determined to resist all attempts the Liberals might make to put them down; at the same time reproaching us for our tameness in not affording an aid commensurate with the evils by which we were menaced. In proportion to an increase in the numbers of our institution, the defeat of the seditious Whigs will be rendered more certain. Should your Lordship feel disposed to entertain views similar to my own, the Deputy Grand Master of England is now in your neighbourhood to give them efficiency.Two or three days afterwards he more boldly avowed himself in a letter he wrote:—Cannon-row, Westminster, 30th July, 1832.MY LORD MARQUESS,—In my letter of Saturday, I omitted to mention that we have the military with us as far as they are at liberty to avow their principles and sentiments; but since the lamented death of the Duke of York, every impediment has been thrown in the way of their holding a Lodge. The same observation that was applied to the colliers might be attached to the soldiery. As Orangemen, there would be an additional security for their allegiance, and unalterable fidelity in times like the present, when revolutionary writers are striving to stir them up to open sedition, and mutiny. In trespassing thus upon the attention of your Lordship, I am not so presumptuous as to suppose that any thing urged by me could influence your conduct; but, understanding the Duke of Cumberland has communicated with your Lordship on this subject, I felt it my duty to put you in possession' of certain facts with which you might not be acquainted.803I have the honour to be, any Lord Marquess, your Lordship's very respectful and obedient servant,W. B. FAIRMAN.To the Marquess of Londonderry.He would now, in justice to Lord Londonderry, read the answer which he made to these communications, as they showed that he was not prepared to aid Fairman. The answer was dated:—Wynyard-park, August 8, 1832.SIR,—I am honoured with your two communications of the 29th and 30th ult.You do me only justice in believing that I would most willingly embrace every opportunity, and do all in my power to espouse the cause and establish the institutions you allude to in this part of the kingdom; but the present state of liberal Whig feeling in this very Whig county, and the very refractory and insubordinate state of the pitmen, entirely preclude the possibility of successful efforts at this juncture. I have had a full conversation and communication with Lord Kenyon on all this matter, who has been in my house these last two days, and I have no doubt he will convince his Royal Highness, as well as yourself, that the present moment is not the time when the object can be forwarded.I will lose no opportunity of embracing any opening that may arise; andI have the honour to be, Sir, your very obedient servant,(Signed) "VANE LONDONDERRY.(Directed)Col. Fairman, Cannon-row, Westminster,(Post mark, Stockton.) "London.He thought that it was but justice to say that he was not in possession of this letter until a few hours ago, and he felt bound to add, that whatever might be the views or intentions of the individual to whom he alluded, that the noble Lord was not a party to them.
§ Lord Castlereagh
rose to order. He wished to know if the last expression of the hon. Member was applied to Lord Londonderry or to Colonel Fairman.
§ Lord Castlereagh
was quite sure that the hon. Member would, on reflection, feel that the question ought to be pressed. He wished to know whether the hon. Member alluded to his (Lord Castlereagh's) father as the individual having certain intentions.
§ Mr. Hume
replied, certainly not. He alluded to Colonel Fairman, and not to the noble Lord in question. He repeated, he did not know what might be the pro- 804 jects of that individual. He would proceed, step by step, with other documents. The next letter he had was dated the 28th of November, 1832, and was from Lord Kenyon to Colonel Fairman, it was directed from Peel Hall:—Peel Hall, 28th Dec.MY DEAR COLONEL AND BROTHER,—I am here again with my venerable aunt, eighty-nine years of age, on a Christmas visit, but return to Gredington next Thursday. Anxiously do I wish the Cock of the North may think it right to come to Glasgow. The warm feeling of Lord J. Campbell, who was a little my junior at Christ Church, Oxford, is very gratifying, and promises, please God we may be blessed with better times, much good in the north hereafter. His old relation, John Campbell, Accountant-General, was always proud of him as a Campbell, and I heartily wish he may live and indue time long enjoy the family honours. I will send our Grand Treasurer your circular. His Royal Highness promises being in England a fortnight before Parliament re-assembles, and I hope will come well. To him, privately, you had better address yourself about your military proposition, which to me appears very judicious. I wish such as his Royal Highness would, without neglecting the prime consideration, viz., the fitness of any thing proposed, attend, in addition to that, to what is popular. Our enemies attend to that alone, which is base; we seem to disregard it too much, which is foolish.Ever yours, faithfully,KENYON.Here again there was allusion to a military proposition connected with the Orange institution, in a letter of Lord Kenyon's That noble Lord in another letter said, "It is a great pity, too, that the amiable Duke of Buccleuch does not see the immense importance of his sanctioning such a cause as the Orange cause, identified as it is with high Conservative principles." This letter was addressed from Ellesmere, and of the date of October 20, 1833, and was directed to Lieutenant-Colonel Fairman, Gordon Castle. The next noble Lord to whose conduct, with reference to these societies, he had to call the attention of the House, was Lord Wynford. That Nobleman, as was well known to the House, was an ex-Chief Justice, and had, since his retirement, been made an Orangeman, and he held in his hand a letter written concerning that noble Lord, the contents of which he could hardly bring himself to believe till he saw them. It was from Lord Kenyon to Colonel Fairman. It was dated Portman-square, June 1st. It was as follows:—"Lord Wynford has 805 fixed Monday, at half-past twelve, at the House of Lords to be initiated an Orangeman. He has a private room of his own there as Deputy Speaker." He did not think that they had an Orange Lodge within their walls. Bad as Orangeism was, he thought, that at any rate, it would keep at a distance, instead of exhibiting such reckless boldness as to form one of the Houses of the Legislature into a place to hold Orange Lodges. He quoted this, however, in order to elucidate what followed, and the feelings and language that were held by the noble Lord with reference to the Duke of Cumberland, who, be it recollected, alone had the management of the military affairs of the Institution. The letter was dated Chiselhurst, and was directed to Colonel Fairman at Birmingham. It began:—"My dear Sir,—I am much obliged to you;" and, after some unimportant observations, proceeded in the following terms:—"He (the Duke of Cumberland) is one of the best and most ill-used men I know; but the Whigs will never forgive his using the influence which his excellent understanding, and his steady adherence to his principles, gave him with his brother to unseat them when last in office. The Tories have not been sufficiently grateful to him. The country, as it becomes better acquainted with Whig misrule, will learn to appreciate his merits. As you are so obliging in your last letter as to ask my advice as to whether you should pursue the course that you have so ably begun, I can only say that you must exercise your discretion as to the company in which you make such appeals as that which I have seen reported. When you meet only sure Tories, you may well make them feel what they owe to one who is the constant, unflinching, champion of the party, and who, by his steady course, has brought on himself all the obloquy that a base malignant faction can invent." The next letter to which he should direct the attention of the House was from Doncaster, and was dated the 12th of Feb., 1833, and was from Colonel Fairman to Lord Kenyon. He would trouble the House with the following extract from it:—"Lord Wynford, the soundness of whose judgment few persons would be so hardy as to call in question, was kind enough to write me word he had read with much pleasure the report of my proceedings in Birmingham. I believe I mentioned that I bad consulted his Lordship 806 on the propriety of my continuing to introduce the Duke's name in the prominent shape I had previously done, and with the policy of which he seemed to agree. There is one strong point which induces me to cherish a hope that I have worked a change in the sentiments of the press, which is, that the foulest part of it, I fancy, has not attacked me, nor attempted to gainsay my comments in refutation of the calumnies so lavishly put forth, against our illustrious Grand Master. If he would but make a tour into these parts, for which I have prepared the way, he would be idolised." Hon. Gentlemen would perceive in those letters some allusions as to what Colonel Fairman was charged by Haywood with having done at Sheffield, namely—proposing plans as to what he and other Orangemen ought to do in certain cases. Haywood had challenged contradiction as to what he alleged respecting the doings of Fairman in this town. Did not this letter of Lord Wynford in some degree support those charges; for in it he told Fairman that he might speak more openly when he met only sure Tories. Certainly all that was alluded to in the letter was the propriety of making a more prominent use of the name of the Duke of Cumberland. He did not suppose that Fairman would, without great caution, propose to Lord Londonderry, Lord Wynford, and Lord Kenyon, what he would propose to persons in an inferior station; and they had evidence that this person, acting under the itinerant warrant of the Duke of Cumberland, did use language of the most dangerous character. There was another communication from Fairman to Sir James Cockburn, dated the 14th of July, 1831. It commenced, "By a late return it appears our strength in this country exceeds 135,000, and it is fast augmenting as regards numbers; we are infinitely less on this side the water in this respect. We are by no means so assiduous as we might be in attending to the increase of the numbers of the society, and enlarging its influence. My fine fellows who compose the lodges in the capital, none of whom are Reformers, are stanch to the backbone; and should it be necessary for the lives and properties of those great men who risk both to prevent revolutionary changes, I could muster them at my summons." This, he thought, was quite sufficient to satisfy the House; 807 but there were a number of other documents of similar importance, to which he also felt bound shortly to direct the attention of the House. The first paper was the draft of a letter, as he believed, to the Duke of Cumberland. There was no address to it, but from the tenor of it there could be no doubt, he (Mr. Hume) thought, as to its being addressed to the Duke of Cumberland. It was as follows:—
"Should an indisposition which has agitated the whole country for a fortnight, take a favourable turn—should the Almighty, in his mercy, give ear unto the supplications to his heavenly throne, that are offered up daily to prolong the existence of one deservedly dear to the kingdom at large—the divulgement I have expressed a willingness to furnish, would be deprived of no small portion of its value. Even in this case, an event, for the consummation of which in common with all good subjects I obtest the duty, it might be as well your Royal Highness should be put in possession of the rash design in embryo, the better to devise means for its frustration. At any rate, you could not then be taken by surprise, as the nation was last year, but might have an opportunity of rallying your forces, and of organising your plans for the defeat of such machinations as might be hostile to your paramount claims. Hence, should the experiment be made, and its expedience be established, your Royal Highness would be in a situation to contend for the exercise in your own person of that office at which the wild ambition of another may prompt him to aspire." He confessed that he did not exactly understand it, but possibly the public might. At any rate it was in Fairman's handwriting. Here, then, they had his Royal Highness at the head of the Orange Lodges, having in his confidence an individual who was sending inflammatory documents throughout the country, and spreading most dangerous doctrines in all directions, and endeavouring to keep up a constant agitation against the Government. They found, also, that the exposure of the proceedings of this person did not prevent his Royal Highness from continuing him in his confidence. He therefore thought that he was justified in assuming that there was something more in the transaction than he saw. All the papers and documents that had hitherto been produced had been written to or by 808 this person in his official capacity as Secretary to the Orange Institution, and he had positively refused to furnish the House with other papers and communications respecting this subject, which he admitted were in his possession. The House was placed in a very strange situation; but he trusted that they would act with firmness, and put a stop to a state of things that had been fraught with so much mischief. He need hardly read any more extracts from the returns of evidence, because he was sure that all the Members had seen it. He would, however, refer for a moment to the evidence of Mr. Crawford, with respect to the feelings with which the lower class of Orangemen regarded the Duke of Cumberland. That Gentleman stated, that some rioters who were arrested avowed that they were Orangemen, and that they acted under the warrant of the Duke of Cumberland, which was higher than that of the Duke of Northumberland. The evidence of Mr. Crawford also clearly showed the danger which was likely to arise from allowing such men to remain longer in the army. It was found almost impossible to undeceive the lower class of Orangemen, who, when they heard that the King's brother was at the head of their society, and that he was a Field-marshal, believed that they could break the law with impunity. The time was arrived when the House should come to a firm and determined opinion one way or the other. If any man in that House was of opinion that Orange Lodges were beneficial and should be continued, he would, of course, vote against his motion; but all who believed that they had proved dangerous to the peace of society wherever they existed—that they had proved so in Ireland, and also in those places where they had been established in Scotland—would vote with him. Lives had been lost in all parts of the country where they had been established, and in places where peace had previously constantly prevailed. The conduct of the Orangemen had led to the commission of murder at Airdrie, which, before an Orange Lodge was established there, was one of the most quiet places in Scotland, and for this crime he believed one man had suffered the punishment of death and another had been banished for life. It was the countenance given to these societies by the Duke of Cumberland, and the use that was constantly made of his name, that rendered 809 their existence so dangerous. On these grounds he put it to the House whether it would not agree to the resolutions which he held in his hand. Before, however, proposing his resolutions, he would refer to a few more documents. He held in his hand a copy of a letter from Lord Cole to Colonel Fairman, dated—1833, Florence-court. It begins—"Dear Colonel—Some of the signs and passports have been changed." He read this to show the footing Colonel Fairman was on with the heads of the party. Again, there was a letter to Lord Langford. He would, however, read some observations of Captain Fairman on the state of the public press; they were addressed to Lord Kenyon, and were as follow:My Lord—In forwarding to your Lordship the inclosure of yesterday, which for itself speaks so distinctly as to leave me but little to add on the same subject, I am persuaded you will not consider me to have been importunate or obtrusive. Should those with whom your Lordship is in the habit of acting, see the necessity, at a crisis of danger like the present, for such an engine, the sooner it shall be set in motion the better. The daily Press has long been monopolised by, and is row in the sole occupation of the enemy. Hence the multitude who seldom take much trouble to reflect, who possess not the faculty of judging for themselves, are led astray by the sophistries so sedulously put forth for their misguidance. That filthy concern, The Times.It was necessary to inform hon. Gentleman, that be (Mr. Hume) held in his hand three or four propositions to establish newspapers, which were to advocate the principles of the Orange Society, and be in the interest of the Lodge. The hon. Member proceeded to read—That filthy concern, The Times, which spares neither age nor sex, public bodies nor private individuals, which, at a less degenerate era, would have been burnt by the common hangman—ought to be forthwith checked in its flagitious course of unparalleled infamy. Such a sacrilegious print is well worthy of its new friends, who are as inexorable in their resentments and political animosities, as the vehicle of their rancour has ever been vindictive and diabolically mischievous in all its aims.[Loud Laughter.] There appears to have been some peculiarly strong link which bound the active author of these epistles to his illustrious Friend. The hon. Member concluded with observing, that though some of the latter part of his statements 810 had excited laughter, the subject was one of the moat grave importance. There was clear proof of the existence of a Society composed of (as was allowed by themselves) 300,000 men, united together, and so organised as to be in a situation to be called forth in a body on whatever occasion, whether for good or evil, when required to do so by their illustrious Grand Master. How wild and visionary the ideas of this Society were, was evidenced in the speculations put forth by Fairman, of how, in the event of the demise of the Crown, the heir apparent, the Princess Victoria, should be set aside, and in favour of whom? The whole system ought at once to be put an end to; and he trusted his Majesty's Ministers would do that. The hon. Member concluded by moving the following Resolutions:—1st. That this House, taking into consideration the evidence given before the Select Committee appointed to inquire in so the nature, extent, character, and tendency of Orange Lodges, Associations, or Societies in Ireland; and of Orange Institutions in Great Britain and the Colonies; and seeing that the existence of Orange Societies is highly detrimental to the peace of the community, by exciting discord amongst the several classes of his Majesty's subjects; and seeing that it is highly injurious to the due administration of justice, that any Judge, Sheriff, Magistrate, Juryman, or any other person employed in maintaining the peace of the country, should be bound by any secret obligation to, or be in any combination with, any Association unknown to the Laws, and founded upon principles of religious exclusion, that even if justice were impartially administered under such circumstances, which is in itself impossible, yet any connection with such Societies would create suspicions and jealousies detrimental to the peace and good Government of this country.2nd. That Orange Societies, and all other political Societies which have secret forms of initiation, and secret signs, and are bound together by any religious ceremony, are especially deserving of the severest reprobation of the House, and should no longer be permitted to continue.3rd. That a humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that his Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct measures to be taken to remove from the public service, at home and abroad, every Judge, Privy Councillor, Lord-Lieutenant, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, Custos Rotulorum, Magistrate, Militia Officer, Inspector, Chief Constable of the Constabulary and Peace Preservation Force, every Officer of Police in Ireland, and every functionary employed in the administration of justice, and in maintaining the peace of the 811 country, who shall attend the meeting of any Orange Lodge, of any Ribbon Lodge, or of any other political Club, Institution, or Association, whenever, or wherever assembled, having secret forms of initiation, and being bound together by any religious ceremony, and with secret signs and passwords for recognition of Members of such bodies, and who shall not withdraw from such Societies or Associations on or before the expiration of one month after the publication of any Proclamation which his Majesty may be pleased to direct to be issued hereupon, forbidding their continuing to be Members of such Orange Lodges, Societies, and Associations.
§ Sir William Molesworth
I rise to second the Motion of my hon. Friend. I would call the attention of the House to the concluding paragraphs of the Report of the Committee on the Orange Institutions in Great Britain. After having cited a portion of the Statutes of the 39th George 3rd, c. 79, the Report says—"It will be for the House to consider whether the present organization of Orange Lodges, in connexion with the Imperial Grand Lodge, comes within the words of the Statute, and, if so, whether the Law Officers of the Crown should not be directed to institute legal proceedings, without delay, against the Grand Officers of ail Orange Lodges." I know that the Orangemen consider this institution not to be an illegal one, because, in 1822, they obtained a favourable opinion from Sergeant Lens, Sir William Home, Mr. Baron Gurney, and Mr. Adolphus. Undoubtedly, according to the case submitted to those learned Gentlemen, the Orange Institution was not an illegal Society in 1822. A. Society, however, may, according to its printed rules, be strictly legal yet, in practice, depart from those rules, and be an illegal Society, and this I believe to have been the case of the Orange Institution in 1822; this, however, is of little consequence. The House must bear in mind this fact, that in 1832 the rules o the Society were materially altered from those which were submitted to Sergean Lens, and were assimilated to those of the Orange Societies in Ireland. Now it is in consequence of those alterations, it is in consequence of the existing rules, that I contend that this Society is an illegal one Though the printed rules of a Society are the worst possible evidence of its legality, yet, as admissions, they are the best evidence of its illegality. I am convinced that if hon. Gentlemen will examine 812 the rules of the Orange Institution, and will likewise look at the words of the Statute, they will not hesitate in affirming, that this Society is, to all intents, an illegal combination and confederacy. There are Statutes against illegal Societies. The 37th George 3rd, c. 123; 39th George 3rd, c. 79; and the 67th George 3rd, c. 19. Now, Sir, in. my opinion, the Orange Institution is an illegal Society, in various manners under these Statutes. I consider that it would be easy to prove, that the Orangemen in reality assent to a test or declaration not required or authorised by law, and if this be the case, the Society would be illegal under the 57th George 3rd, c. 19. I consider that, to all intents and purposes, the religious ceremony, called the ritual, is an oath not required or authorised by law, and if this be the case, the Society would again be illegal under the 57th George 3rd, c. 19. I consider that the Orangemen are bound, in consequence of being Orangemen, to obey the commands of their Grand Master, who is a leader or Commander, not having authority by law for such purpose, and if this be the case, the Society is illegal under the 37th George 3rd, c. 123. I do not intend to insist upon these positions, because I should be unwilling to appear to strain the meaning of a criminal Statute. I shall content myself with referring to that portion of the 39th George 3rd, c. 79, which the Committee has cited, and under which the illegality of this Society seems, to me, most manifest; the 39th George 3rd, c. 79, enacts that, "every Society which shall be composed of different divisions or branches, or of different parts acting in any manner separately or distinct from each other, or of which any part shall have any separate or distinct President, Secretary, Treasurer, Delegate, or other Officer elected or appointed by or for such part, or to act as Officer for such part." shall be deemed an unlawful confederation. 1. The Orange Institution is "composed of different divisions or branches." This fact is acknowledged in the Address of the Orangemen to the Carlton Club; after enumerating the advantages which the Conservatives would derive from becoming Orangemen, they say, in order "that the constituency may be able to know the patriot from the demagogue—the honest man from the pretender—where can they so well apply for information and 813 advice as to the Grand Lodge of the Institution, which being in active correspondence with all its branches, possesses the facility of knowing the principles of every man in the country. In order to prove my position more distinctly, I shall now prove that each Orange Lodge (or as it is sometimes called, warrant), is a separate and distinct branch of the Orange Institution, separate and distinct from every other Lodge. In proof of this position I would refer to the appendix, page 141. There the House will find a list of 265 warrants or Lodges distinguished from each other by different numbers stated to assemble at different places and at different times. In the evidence, I find that at Glasgow a Lodge is called "The Gordon Lodge;" at Barnsley there is a Lodge called "The Royal Cumberland Lodge." In the itinerant warrant granted by the Duke of Cumberland, powers are delegated to Colonel Fairman, "to open new Lodges, and to set them in full operation." These facts are in themselves sufficient to create a strong presumption that each Lodge is a separate and distinct branch of the Orange Society. I shall now explain in what manner, according to the rules of the Institution, each Lodge is distinct from each other Lodge, By rule 7, every member of the Institution, from the rank of Grand Commissioner downwards, must belong to some specified Lodge; and no person is of right entitled to a seat in the Grand Lodge, nor shall be proposed for office, unless the Lodge to which he belongs is mentioned in his certificate. This rule proves that each Lodge has its own members separate and distinct from the members of each other Lodge. Now, with regard to the duties of these members, if the House would refer to rules 21, 41, and 7, it would find that each Lodge has not only its separate and distinct members, but it has likewise, its annual receipts, separate and distinct from those of other Lodges; it has its own funds, separate and distinct from the funds of other Lodges; it has its own officers, its own by-laws, separate and distinct from those of other lodges; and members of other Lodges have no right to interfere either in the distribution of the funds, the election of the officers, or in the making of the by-laws. For instance, if I were an Orangeman, which, thank God, I am not, I must belong to some particular Lodge—say to the Grand Cumberland Lodge, at Barnsley—I should be 814 obliged to attend the meetings of that Lodge at least once a year; I should be obliged to pay an annual subscription; I should have a right of voting with regard to the distribution of the funds, the elections of the officers, and the by-laws of the Lodge. If I were to be in London I might attend the meetings of the Metropolitan Lodge, on the production of my certificate; but I should not be bound to pay a subscription to the Metropolitan Lodge; I should not be obliged to attend the meetings of the Metropolitan Lodge, and if I were to attend the meetings, I should merely be admitted as a visiter; I should have no right to bear a part in any of its proceedings; I should be unable to vote on any subject, either on the distribution of the funds, the election of the officers, or on the by-laws. Now, it is the right of voting in these meetings which, according to Sergeant Lens, is the material part of acting separately and distinctly; and this right is reserved in each Lodge to certain, individuals exclusively. Thus, as an Orangeman, I should be obliged to belong to some branch of it; and, consequently, the Orange Institution is a society composed of separate and distinct divisions and branches, and of parts acting separately and distinctly from each other, and is consequently an unlawful confederacy. But the Lodge is not the only branch of the society; each Lodge is attached to some district, which is likewise a division of the society. This fact is easily proved. In Appendix, page 145, there is a list of district warrants: each district has its Deputy-Grand Master, who is obliged to report to the Grand Lodge, and who, according to rule 3, represents in the Grand Lodge the masters of warrants. Each district has its half-yearly meetings for the arrangement of its affairs. In rule 8, the object of these district meetings is stated. They assemble for the purpose of investigating matters of a local nature, and in order to receive returns from the masters of each Lodge, which are afterwards [transmitted to the Grand Lodge, These meetings are composed of certain specific individuals, who have duties to perform separate and distinct from those of the members of other districts. The right of voting in these meetings is confined exclusively to certain individuals. As the arguments which I employed in order to prove that each Lodge is a separate branch of the society, are the same as 815 those which I should now have to employ in order to prove that the district is a branch of the society, I will not repeat them, but proceed to the last part of the case. I contend that the society is illegal, on account of the manner in which its officers are appointed or elected, according to the words of 39 Geo. III. c. 79, which I have already read, every society, "of which any part shall have any separate or distinct president, secretary, treasurer, delegate, or other officer, elected or appointed by or for such part, or to act as an officer for such part." Now, Sir, there are a host of officers appointed for particular parts of the society, and to act as officers for such parts; and there are other officers elected by parts of the society. App. page 131. In rule 3, I find "the Deputy-grand Masters of counties, cities, and boroughs, sending Members to Parliament, appointed by the Imperial Grand Lodge." "The Deputy-grand chaplains of counties, cities, boroughs, and districts appointed in like manner." "The Deputy-grand Masters of districts appointed by the Imperial Grand Lodge, on the recommendation of the brethren;" and if the House will refer to the annual reports of the Grand Lodge, they will find the names of those who are thus appointed. The officers of each Lodge are elected. In rule 3, it is stated—"The masters of warrants are annually elected by their respective members, subject to the approbation of the Imperial Grand Lodge." The election must take place in the first week in May. The fee on the first election is 5s. on re-election 2s. 6d.—Rule 41. The chaplains of each Lodge are annually elected. The committeemen are likewise elected. I need not trespass upon the patience of the House, by proving that these rules are adhered to—the evidence given before the Committee would easily demonstrate this fact to any person who will take the trouble of reading that evidence. Thus, Sir, to all intents and purposes, the Orange Institution in Great Britain is an illegal combination and confederacy. Sir, I would not, on any account, attempt to extend the meaning of a criminal statute, or endeavour to punish, as offenders, persons who merely have violated the strict letter of the law, without acting with the criminal intentions which the law meant to punish. But, Sir, when I read the preamble of the statute, I find its intention is to 816 prohibit societies whose acts are similar to those of the Orangemen. The Statute says, "Whereas many such societies are composed of different divisions, branches, or parts, which communicate with each other by secretaries, delegates, or otherwise, and by means thereof maintain, an influence over large bodies of men, and delude many ignorant and unwary persons into the commission of acts highly criminal." Is this not a just description of the Orange Institution? My hon. Friend has shown in what manner this society maintains an influence over large bodies of men, in what manner it has deluded at Airdrie and elsewhere many ignorant and unwary men into the commission of acts highly criminal. These Statutes, to which I have so often referred, are not obsolete—men are still suffering punishment under these enactments; they have been put in force against the poor and the ignorant—I now demand that they shall equally be put in force against the rich and the educated. The House must remember the case of the Dorchester labourers—those unfortunate men combined for the purpose of raising their wages, which is not an illegal act. They formed a secret association, which is not necessarily illegal. They were initiated with religious ceremonies, not more profane than those of the Orangemen, Unfortunately, their chief was not a prince of the blood—unfortunately, in their ignorance, they were not contented with mere ceremonies; in addition, they uttered certain words, which in a court of justice were considered to be an oath, and for their ignorance they were transported. The chiefs of the Orangemen are noble, rich, and well educated men. Their leader is the first male subject in the realm, not, however, thank God, as the hon. Member for Drogheda proposed to term him, the nearest to the throne. [Mr. Randal Plunkett rose to order. He called on the hon. Baronet to explain the assertion he had thus made.] The hon. Member most certainly used the term in question, and I will tell him and the House where. In the Report, page 114, there is a document containing these words: "The Orange Institution is the only society in Great Britain which already includes individuals of every rank and grade, from the nearest to the throne to the poorest peasant," &c. This document is indorsed, "Materials from the hon. Randal Plunkett for an address to the Carlton Club," I hope the 817 hon. Member's memory is refreshed. Well, these men have combined to preserve abuses, they have bound themselves together by religious ceremonies as solemn as any oath. For, according to the ritual, when the candidate is initiated he must have the Sacred Scriptures in his hands, with the book of the rules and regulations placed thereon; he is commanded to study the former and obey the latter; he is received as a member of the society under the assurance of his sponsors that he will carry equally in his heart the laws of the institution and those of the Deity; kneeling, he is decorated with the Orange scarf, and he is told in the words of Scripture, "This shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for a frontlet between thine eyes; for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. Thou shall, therefore, keep his ordinance, in his season, from year to year."—Exodus, xiii. 16–18. These secret signs and passwords are made known to him; and in conclusion the chaplain, in joy at the coming of the new associate, with impious mockery saith, "Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace, good-will towards men."—St. Luke, ii. 14. Thus the holiest words of Scripture are profaned in order to enforce and sanctify obedience to the commands, whatever they mas be, of his Royal Highness Prince Ernest Augustus Duke of Cumberland. For his powers are illimitable, discretionary, and "absolute." To him the "honour and welfare of this society are implicitly confided." What that honour must be, in what that welfare must consist, all men who have read these Reports, and heard the speech of the hon. Member, must now be full and well aware. Thus these most religious men have not hesitated to desecrate the religion of peace and good-will towards men, by employing it as a means of evading the law; nor have they scrupled to use the sacred ceremonies of their creed for the vile purposes of party feud. They have enrolled bishops and other cassocked priests, whom they have commanded to attend their meetings, dressed and decorated with the insignia of their holy orders; thus to give the semblance of a religious sanction to these their unholy mummeries and impious mockeries. The object of these ceremonies evidently is to impress a conviction upon the initiated that they are bound with all the force and solemnity of an oath, The Orangeman, 818 when initiated, is surrounded by all the pomps of religion, the name of the deity is invoked, he is commanded to be obedient to the laws of the institution, and to keep secret their signs and pass-words; he kneels and vows, and by every conceivable sign acknowledges, his assent to these commands. Yet, say the Orangemen, as they never in so many words promise to obey, as they never say that they will keep secret the signs and passwords—they affirm that their tests are not tests—their oaths are not oaths—and their engagements are not engagements. Such is the miserable casuistry by which these men, who so boast their respect for the law, attempt to evade the law. In some respects they may have succeeded in evading that portion of the law under which the Dorchester labourers were punished; but in other respects, as I have shown, they have utterly failed. The question now is, whether the poor alone are to be punished for their illegal societies, whilst the rich are to be permitted unlawfully to combine for evil, and traitorously to organise oppression. The means of crushing this Institution in Great Britain are easy and simple; I am perfectly convinced that evidence could be produced in a court of justice, to prove everyone of my assertions if the law officers of the Crown will employ the powers vested in them by these Statutes. They can, if they think proper, stay criminal proceedings against any person who hag offended against these Statutes; let them promise thus to protect the witnesses, and I am convinced many would be found amongst the members of this Institution, who, now aware of its noxious effects, would willingly atone to their country by giving such evidence as would infallibly convict the chiefs of this Institution of a misdemeanour for which they may be transported. Offences under two of these Statutes are misdemeanours. Peers, therefore, would not be tried by the House of Lords, but by a common Jury. Let, therefore, the law officers of the Crown present to the Grand Jury of Middlesex bills of Indictment against the Imperial Grand Master the Duke of Cumberland—against the Grand Master of England, Lord Kenyon—against the Grand Secretary, Lord Chandos; and to these worthies let them not forget to add the right rev. Father in God Thomas Lord Bishop of Salisbury. Thus, Sir, these Statutes, 819 which were the creations of the sworn enemies of the people, may now, as it were, by a retribution of Divine Providence, become the means of crushing this institution—of destroying this imperium in imperio, and of laying prostrate its chief. At his fate none but his Followers will mourn. A few years residence on the shores of the Southern Ocean would teach him and other titled criminals that the laws of their country are not to be violated with impunity, and that equal justice is now to be administered to the high and to the low. Thus this institution may be crushed in Great Britain. I am not acquainted with the Irish Statutes, and consequently cannot affirm whether the Orange societies in that country are illegal or not; but undoubtedly the House will be gratified in learning that the whole of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, that is, all the chiefs of a society, might easily be transported; for all members of the Grand Lodge of Ireland are member so the grand lodge of England; and the words of the Statute are, "Every person who, after the passing of this Act, shall, directly or indirectly, maintain correspondence or intercourse with any such society, &c, "or who shall by contribution of money or otherwise, aid abet, or support such society, or any members or officers thereof, as such shall be deemed guilty of an unlawful combination or confederacy." Thus it is evident that any person who has attended a meeting of the Grand Lodge of England is liable to be transported. Now I find recorded as present at various meetings of the Grand Lodge, the following members of the Grand Lodge of Ireland:—Lord Roden, Lord Thomond, Lord Langford, Lord Cole, M. P., the hon. Randal Plunket, M. P. colonel Verner, M. P., colonel Perceval, M. P., Henry Mannock, esq., M. P., Anthony Lefroy, esq., M. P. It would be sufficient to put the laws in force against these gentlemen to destroy the Orange Institution in Ireland. Thus, Sir, it seems to me easy in various manners to put down these societies. At least, let the Government adopt the advice of my hon. Friend. Let them strike off the Bench every Magistrate who is an Orangeman; let them dismiss from their employment every functionary who belongs to those societies; let them oblige the Horse-Guards rigidly to enforce its orders; in short, Set them consider the muster-roll of that society as the list of their bitterest 820 foes; as the catalogue of those implacable enemies of the people's rights, to whom it would be madness for their own sake—to whom it would be disgraceful for the people's sake—to confide any public trust. Thus proscribed, the society would soon perish; and if the Administration have either courage or energy they will not hesitate long ere they strike the blow. It will be miserable folly to attempt to conciliate the Orangemen. If the Ministers do not crush them, they will crush the Ministers—the struggle is a mortal one. He who spares his foe inflicts a wound upon himself—he who refrains from destroying will be destroyed. The Orangemen are now in the power of the Ministers, let them not hesitate one moment, but seal the doom of these noxious societies, and crush the chiefs.
§ Lord John Russell
rose and said: Sir, I think it my duty to address the House as early as possible after the two hon. Members who have moved and seconded these resolutions, in order to put the House in possession of the course of which I gave notice on a former debate, that I should think it my duty to propose to the House to follow on this occasion. In proposing that course, I certainly feel that there never was a question upon which it was of more importance to come to a right decision, and that in stating my views upon this subject, I must also be considered as stating the general views of his Majesty's other Ministers upon a question which at different times has occupied their most anxious and serious consideration. Sir, I have to say on the one hand, that we have considered it with a view—with an opinion, that the society which has been the subject of debate this evening is mischievous to the country, and that it is our duty to endeavour to put an end to it. On the other hand, I must say that I approach the subject with no such feeling as I understood the hon. Member for Cornwall to express. I do not propose the suppression of the Orange society, because, as the hon. Baronet stated, those noblemen and gentlemen who are the head of that body are the bitter enemies of the present Ministry; I wish to consider the society simply as one affecting the peace and well-being of the country, the due authority of Government, and the proper administration of the law. This being the feeling with which I approach the subject, I think I am entitled to ask the support, 821 not only of those hon. Gentlemen who consider it might be an advantageous thing to inflict a blow on the enemies of the present Administration, but also of those Members of the House who, though hostile to that Administration, still consider that the general results which I have mentioned are paramount to all party considerations, and ought to be binding upon themselves as well as upon us in this discussion. Sir, in treating of this matter, I feel it necessary to say in the outset, that I shall not enter upon any part of the question as to the papers and correspondence which the hon. Member for Middlesex has produced to the House this evening, I may be permitted to add, with little connection or arrangement. Whatever may be the importance of the matter—and I confess there is in it much that requires the serious consideration of the House. I do not conceive that I should be justified in pronouncing an opinion with respect to the effect and result of that correspondence on the present occasion. I shall therefore confine myself to that which appeared on a former occasion; to that which came out in the evidence taken before the House; to that which was declared in the resolutions of the House, read by the hon. Member for Middlesex at the beginning of the debate, and to that which is notorious to all who have paid attention to the subject. By far the most important part of this question, in reference to a political society, is that which concerns Ireland. After having attended as closely as I could to the hon. Member's speech, and having considered the whole effect of the evidence—more particularly the statements made by those who were members or chief-officers of Orange Lodges—I must say, without at present questioning what may have been their motives, or impugning their conduct, I must express my strong feeling that the effect of these societies has been injurious to the good government of the country. In the first place, the existence of societies of this kind, composed of bands of men, armed and prepared to stand in array by each other, following no recognised or lawful authority, but merely that of their own leaders, teaches a party of the King's subjects to enter into a state of warfare and defiance with another part of the King's subjects: this must be the unhappy result, whatever it be founded upon, whether a difference 822 of religion or anything else. The moment you create such societies, and organise them into districts and lodges, and so forth, you make a distinction between them and the other parts of the King's subjects, who immediately form into similar societies under some other denomination, and thus you institute a perpetual and ever-recurring source of quarrelling, discontent, and insubordination. It is another evil of these societies, when they unite persons of the lowest order with many of the highest, that the lowest are accustomed to look to those who are high in authority in their own society as the leaders whom they ought to obey, instead of obeying the Crown and the depositories in whom the trust of the Crown is placed. By sanctioning such societies you do so far weaken the allegiance of the subject that you give him two leaders—you give him two sovereigns instead of one. And while in the one case there is required only that abstract allegiance which yields to no passion, in the other there is a combination of party and passion and sectarian feeling, making the difference between an obedience to what is salutary and beneficial, and an obedience to what is turbulent and factious. It is another evil of these societies—and I am speaking now of their natural constitution—it is another evil that being thus supported by their leaders, and imbued with party feeling, they hold to that party feeling in spite of the supremacy of the law. Thus a state comes to be divided into parties suspiciously fearful of each other; and when a case is brought into a court of law, instead of its being decided on the principles of justice, those united in these societies think the prosecution is directed against them, and in this way hostile party feelings are generated, which are most injurious to the pure and quiet course of justice. Here I must be allowed to say I much regret that the hon. Member for Middlesex has spoken with a disrespect, which I think he is far from deserving, of a nobleman, on whose authority I must rely for a confirmation of the impression I have received with respect to these societies—of a nobleman of whom I must remark, that though he is certainly not connected with us as a party, yet is a person of so much prudence and moderation, that I think my noble friend opposite did not hesitate to recommend him for one of the Lords-Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Caledon, I mean; and 823 no doubt he is a nobleman fully qualified for such a situation. Lord Caledon, in his examination before the Committee of this House in 1835, said, in reply to a question put to him, that he would answer by reading part of a letter which he addressed to Colonel Verner relative to an Orange procession on the 27th of April, 1832. His Lordship read as follows: "It is hardly necessary for me to add, that I neither did nor can subscribe to your position, that the word Orangemen means Protestants generally. I believe there are few who value the Protestant population of Ulster more highly than I do; but when a portion only of that body become members of a political society, I cannot consent that such portion should assume to itself the right of being considered the Protestant body at large. I look upon the Protestants as the main support of British connection, as the most industrious and intelligent part of our community; but I consider the Orange system as tending to disunite us when our religion alone should be a sufficient bond for our union; that is the opinion I entertained on the 5th of July, 1832, and which I still retain." Another question is put to his Lordship as follows: "In fact the Orange body, so far from assisting to execute the laws, are in the county of Tyrone the very people who are most active in infringing the laws, and against whom your Lordship is desirous of further legislative enactment?" His Lordship answers—"The Orange body is composed of men of different habits, and different ways of thinking; there are amongst them many who do maintain the laws to the utmost; there are others of very loose character. I think all party associations injurious to the peace of the country, and opposed to good order; though there are many individuals in the body who are well disposed to enforce the laws they have not the power to control those under them." Again the noble Lord is questioned, "Your Lordship is doubtless aware that one of the ostensible objects of the Orange system is, to provide for the security of Protestants en masse against the great body of the Roman Catholics in Ireland?" Answer; "I believe it is: but I consider every subject of these realms is bound to look to the laws of his country exclusively for protection in all cases, and I consider it most dangerous to inculcate upon the population of this empire, that it is unsafe for them to do so. I not only 824 object to the formation of all party associations on these grounds, but likewise from their tendency to give individuals a power and influence unknown to the constitution." These, Sir, are the opinions of a man, whose opinions are not what are called extremely liberal, but who, on the contrary, has generally supported those who are considered as opposed to liberal opinions; these are his sentiments, derived from the view he has taken of the society where he resides and is respected, both as a public man and a landowner. Such being my view of these institutions, and of all similar societies, considering them as injurious to the peace of the public, as weakening the authority of the Crown, as weakening the supremacy of the law, and, likewise, as disturbing that religious equality and harmony which otherwise must prevail. I certainly am one of those who declare that my object would be, if possible, to rid ourselves of all assemblies—whether called Orange societies, Ribbon societies, or any other name of this particular character. But in considering this question as a matter of state, we have to consider the various obstacles which may be opposed to the different modes suggested of effecting an object, and the course which, on the whole, is most likely to effect it. There might be a way of proceeding of a very decided character—very prompt and energetic, but which, so far from destroying the flame of this Association, would but raise it higher—carrying it up to a height which it would not Otherwise attain, and, instead of finally extinguishing it, would cause it to burn more steadily and more destructively. I will now consider the proposal which the hon. Member for Cornwall has made on this subject to the House. He has stated it to be the clearest matter possible—and it may be so to his understanding. When I say this, I know that many men, I believe exceedingly eminent as lawyers—certainly possessing a great acquaintance with the law authorities—are of the same opinion with the hon. Gentleman. I certainly did not mean any reflection on the hon. Gentleman, but only that he stated his proposition in a manner which might warrant the inference that it is not possible to entertain a doubt on the subject. After the report made last year by a Committee of this House, which concludes with saying that it is not necessary to enact new laws with reference to these societies, but that 825 the laws in existence, if carried into execution, would be sufficient for the total suppression of these Orange societies, I certainly thought it ray duty to see what view would be taken by the law officers of the Crown on this subject; and I also thought it my duty, instead of patting a dry question in an official shape, to see my learned Friend the Attorney-General, and converse with him generally on the whole bearings of the matter. The impression left on my mind from all he then stated was, that the question whether these societies were illegal or not, was one of great doubt, and that without looking most carefully into the whole of the subject, I should not like to pronounce absolutely whether such societies were legal or illegal. I farther understood that my learned Friend the Solicitor-General entertained a similar view. In considering, then, the bearings of this view of the case, the Government were of opinion that if this, which was a severe penal statute, did not contain positive enactments against this offence, it was not proper for us to seek to find some meaning in the law which would be constructed by our leading men of great eminence at the bar, as a straining of the penal statute—we were of opinion that it was not proper for us to take a course which would involve a discussion as to whether or not we had not forced the meaning of an enactment operating against the liberty of the subject, in order to procure a condemnation. I ought also to say, I think even if I had been able to discover that the Orange society had contrived to evade parts of the law, yet in other respects had conformed to it, in my opinion it would in principle be so mischievous to the liberty of the subject for Government to be attempting to strain the effect of penal laws, that I did not think that we should be justified, on our own authority, in proceeding at once to ascertain the degree of evasion. At the same time I must declare, that I certainly heard nothing from my hon. and learned Friends which would induce me to say, that their opinions sanctioned the legality of these associations, but, as far as might be judged from that which my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General urged, without presuming to form an opinion on the subject myself—I should say, that the question appeared to be one of considerable difficulty. By the 39th of George 3rd the taking of oaths is illegal; this the Orange 826 society had dispensed with. The secret signs and symbols of the society are not illegal. But it is illegal to have district meetings, with several presidents in different parts of the country in communication with each other. But it appeared by the opinions given by Sir William Home, Mr. Sergeant Lens, and Lord Gifford, that the Orange Societies did not come within the meaning of the law in 1822, and therefore, if they came within the terms of any Act at the present, it must be by some recent change in their constitution. If they were considered legal in 1822 by great authorities, and if without any real and substantial mutation some merely formal change has taken place, which renders them amenable to the penalties of law, I should certainly be averse from bringing the question to issue on such narrow grounds. The hon. Member for Cornwall mentioned the case of the Dorchester Labourers. I will take the liberty of alluding to the course pursued by Government upon that occasion. At that time Trades' Unions existed in great numbers, and in the metropolis itself not less than 30,000 of them marched through the streets in procession for a particular purpose. There were extensive branches of these bodies in the country, and most of them were believed to have taken an oath, which brought them within the meaning of the law. The question carne before Lord Grey's Government, and he stated, in resigning office, that he had great satisfaction in finding that the Unions had nearly ceased, although no steps had been taken either rigidly to enforce existing statutes, or to pass new laws against them. It was, therefore, the opinion of Lord Grey's Administration that the proper method of dealing with associations of that character was not by immediately instituting proceedings against them in courts of law. In the case of the Dorchester Labourers the prosecution was not undertaken by the Government, but by magistrates in the county, on account of disturbances in a particular locality. It only remained for the Government to consider whether, a conviction having ensued, and sentence having been passed, it was expedient to make any change in it—a question totally different from the general policy of Government with respect to the unions in general. With respect to the question before the House the Ministers had to consider whether, if they would not be 827 justified in straining a penal statute to meet those cases, was it adviseable that a new law should be enacted? The opinion of the Government certainly was that it was not desirable to introduce any new law upon the subject. If they were to frame a Bill to be carried through Parliament for the suppression of these societies, such a law, if carried, would be looked upon by the parties against whom it was directed as a vindictive proceeding and a stigma directed against them. The great end of such a law would be defeated, and though the societies might disappear in one form they would not be suppressed. The very effect of such legislation would be to keep alive their spirit of party association, and they would rise up again in some other form. I will now refer to that portion of the resolutions proposed by the hon. Member for Middlesex, which pledges the House to recommend the dismissal from all employment under the Government of all persons belonging to these societies. Now it is very easy to point out the inconvenience of such a course of proceeding as the hon. Member proposed. In the case of Judges who may be members of the Orange Society, they could not be removed unless by an address from Parliament. It is the intention of the law in order to maintain the independent administration of justice, the Crown should not have the power of removing Judges, but if proper cause should arise, the Parliament must address the Crown for their removal. Now supposing that that House agree to an address for the removal of a Judge, is it certain that the other House of Parliament would do the same? It certainly is right, when a particular case arises, that the House should have the right to address the Crown for the removal of a Judge on sufficient cause; but nothing would be more inconvenient or more objectionable than a general address to remove Judges on account of their connexion with Orange societies, such as that which was suggested in the resolution before the House. As to the other part of the question, whether it be expedient that they should remove at once from all situations under the Government every person who belongs to these societies, I do not think that such a course would be advisable, nor that it would conduce to the object in view, of effecting the suppression of these societies. There are many men in Ireland, of high 828 character and station, many of them filling the situation of Magistrates, who entered into these societies from a sincere feeling that in doing so they were lending their aid to the Protestant interests, and to remove them at once by an address of the kind proposed, without any previous declaration, would place such a stigma upon them as to mate them conceive that they must in honour still remain bound together; and they would not consider such address as a fair declaration of the opinions of the House, but as an unfair oppressive and vindictive step directed against them. What was the course that the Government had heretofore pursued on this subject. They had had much correspondence with the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland on this particular point. This correspondence had reference to various circumstances bearing forcibly upon this part of the subject. Though it appeared that there were many persons connected with these societies hostile to the Government, and opposed to the authority of the Lord-lieutenants, yet they had not been removed from the situations which they held under the Government. At the same time the course which the Lord-lieutenant had been desirous to take was, that whenever any person applied to him, or to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, to be appointed to a place of trust or emolument, if, on inquiry being made into his character, it was found that he was at the time a member of the Orange Society, the appointment was not bestowed. It certainly is the perfect right of the Crown, whenever parties apply to be appointed to places of trust, to refuse to appoint them, unless they are fully able to observe all the conditions necessary to the fulfilment of that trust. Certainly a gentleman who has appeared decorated with orange symbols, at the head of an Orange procession in a country market-town is not a fit person to be selected for any appointment under the Government. To show, however, the spirit which prevails among many persons holding a high station in Ireland, and the view which the Lord-lieutenant and many noble Lords entertain on this point, I will take the liberty of reading to the House two letters, out of a correspondence which passed between Lord Dunsany and Lord Morpeth, relative to a Mr. Smith, who was recommended for the post of a Deputy-lieutenant. The noble Lord then read the following letters:— 829Dunsany Castle, Dec. 27, 1834.MY LORD—I received your Lordship's letter of the 26th inst. this day. In your former letter you asked me whether Mr. Henry Smith held an office in an Orange Society. I answered that I had no means of ascertaining, not belonging to it myself. My son, Mr. Plunkett, was then in the county of Kilkenny; he is now with me, and informs me that Mr. Henry Smith no longer holds the office you mention, but another replaced him about a year ago. As to his being an Orangeman, I suppose he is, as he generally held office, and so are, probably, half the Magistrates in the county; and if so, they are the more watchful of the evil designs of the Ribandmen, of whom a large majority of the labouring classes are composed.I have the honour, &c.DUNSANY.Having read this letter, I must say, that I consider it to be a proof of the distorted views which men of irreproachable character take of this subject. The answer of Lord Morpeth was dated the 29th of December, and was as follows:—MY LORD—As your Lordship, in your letter of the 27th instant, in recommending Mr. Henry Smith, states that yon suppose him still to be an Orangeman, and as it is His Excellency's intention not knowingly to make any more appointments of members of that society, his Excellency must therefore repeat, that unless Mr. Smith either denies his connexion with it, or signifies his intention of withdrawing from it, he must decline to nominate him a Deputy-lieutenant for the county of Meath. His Excellency cannot close this correspondence without expressing his most entire and unqualified dissent from the opinion which appears to be conveyed in the latter part of your Lordship's letter, that Magistrates, by becoming Orangemen, are thereby more fit to watch the designs of Ribandmen. Should such designs exist to the extent and amongst the persons your Lordship supposes, his Excellency will look alone for their suppression to the open and impartial discharge of their duty by the Magistrates as such, and not to their connexion with Orange Institutions.Such is the view which his Majesty's Government—such is the view which the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland takes of these societies. Wherever there are Ribbonmen who act in opposition to the law, every means of suppressing them will be resorted to. But there is a great difference between the associations, and whilst Ribbonism is confined to a portion of the labouring classes, no person in Parliament—No Lord-lieutenant of a county—has, as yet, admitted himself to be in connexion with it; but, 830 with respect to Orangeism, persons of exalted rank and high station have deemed it right to avow such a connection, and expressed it as their opinion that such secret societies were the best counterpoise to disaffection. Therefore, it is, that the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland deems it his duty to abstain from appointing Orangemen to the Magistracy, lest, being biassed by any influence, they may not be able to view impartially the cases that come before them. Then I am prepared to say, that it is not only convenient to adopt measures of discouragement in respect to those societies, but I think, when their nature is so completely unveiled, as to be condemned in the opinion of liberal men of every party, they must gradually diminish. I will, however, propose as an amendment to the motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, a resolution discouraging such societies, followed by an address to the Crown. As regarded the motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, it cannot be supposed that the House of Commons is prepared to second an address, praying for the removal of the Judges of the land from their high offices, as if they were so many criminals, without some more clear and decisive allegations being made against them. This certainly is not to be expected; but if the House express a general opinion that such societies are dangerous and mischievous; if, on the expression of such an opinion by the House, an address, in conformity with it be presented to the Crown, and gain the sanction of his Majesty, the persons hereafter belonging or adhering to such societies, will be placed in a different situation from that in which they were at present. Not only will such a proceeding have its effect upon persons in that and in another House, but even upon one who has been described by the hon. Member for Drogheda as the person nearest the throne. I feel satisfied when that illustrious Personage finds the general sense of the House and the opinion of his Majesty against such societies, he will take a different view from that which he at present takes with regard to this subject; and though the Illustrious individual, as well as others might still continue to believe, that such associations were best calculated to promote the end they had in view, still I cannot imange that any person of proper and loyal feelings, anxious to promote the good of the country, will 831 resist an opinion so generally and so solemnly pronounced. I will say but a few words more on the general bearing of the question before the House. I am not surprised to find evils like that under the consideration of the House in a country circumstanced as Ireland is. Indeed, such is the anomaly of her condition, that nothing could have prevented their growth. When William 3rd. was selected to fill the Throne of these kingdoms, though he was acknowledged by a majority of the people of England and Scotland, the people of Ireland were only kept in obedience by the force of arms in the hands of a powerful minority. This minority was compelled to protect itself by the enactment of penal laws, harsh and cruel in their nature. As the danger diminished, and as the age became averse to such rigorous enactments, these laws were relaxed, and others were framed, in a new and better temper. After this relaxation, those who had been hitherto a powerless and abject, although a numerous majority, grew in strength, and wealth, and power, and intellect, and claimed as their natural due an equal participation in all social rights. This, of course, was calculated to offend the prejudices, to alarm the fears, and disturb the power of those who had so long held an undisturbed monopoly; and, as a means of obviating the threatened destructive inroads, the latter resorted to combination, to union, and to secrecy. This naturally produced a resort to similar means by the opposite party, and it was not to be wondered at, that the dissemination of societies, secret, partial, and exclusively religious was the consequence. But the time is now come when the people of Ireland ought to depart from these separate and hostile associations, when they should lay down the arms with which they waged this antisocial warfare, and resort for the decision of their differences to the temple of the law. The Protestant, the Catholic, the Presbyterian—every man of every faith should deem the British Constitution and the British Law sufficient for his protection, without any other auxiliary. If these are not found sufficient, let complaint be made to Parliament, and if Ministers, on such complaint, neglect their duty, then let the blame rest upon them, and let punishment follow. If the Judges of the land, or any persons in trust, do not perform their duty purely, impartially, and up- 832 rightly, let complaint be made in Parliament of inattention and partiality, and let that complaint be strictly and promptly attended to. With these observations I will conclude, by imploring the well-disposed of all parties to dismiss from their thoughts all reliance upon such false, inadequate, partial, and mischievous protections as those societies afford, and to rely only upon the laws and the Constitution. Such societies are only calculated to subject upright and well-disposed men to the machinations and practices of the vilest adventurers. For the good and the virtuous—and good and virtuous men belong to the association—these secret societies are powerless and useless; but they are both useful and powerful for mischief to active and designing intriguers. Let all good men, then, abandon them, and confiding in the powers of the Constitution, for the upholding of justice and of freedom—confiding, too, in that publicity of proceeding which is one of the great elements of the Constitution—let all unite in an address to his Majesty, in the humble but fervent hope, that it will impart present tranquility to the kingdom, and ensure its future welfare. The noble Lord concluded by moving the following resolution as an amendment, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, praying that his Majesty will be graciously pleased to take such measures as his Majesty may deem advisable for the effectual discouragement of Orange Lodges, and generally of all political societies, excluding persons of different religions, and using secret signs and symbols, and acting by means of associated branches."
§ Mr. Wilson Patten
said, that whilst on the Committee which sat upon the subject of Orange Lodges, he had devoted considerable time and attention to this subject, and it was with great pleasure, he concurred in almost all the observations which had just been made by the noble Lord. Having gone through the whole of the evidence, it was his impression that all secret societies produced an injurious effect upon the peace and tranquillity of the country. He, however, must be permitted to say, that the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen who had preceded the noble Lord were like those of persons more anxious to attain victory than to arrive at truth. He certainly objected to the strong resolutions which had been laid before 833 the House, and he also deprecated personal reflections, as having a tendency to provoke personal hostility. He would take the liberty of reading to the House a resolution which it had been his intention to propose to the House. [The hon. Gentleman here read a resolution for an humble address to his Majesty, praying that his Majesty would take such steps as in his wisdom he might deem fit for the suppression of all secret societies which excluded persons on account of their religions faith, and which used secret signs and symbols.] It would be seen, that in this resolution he did not particularise any one secret society, but aimed it at ail generally, and he would suggest to the noble Lord the propriety of acting in the same manner with respect to the Amendment which the noble Lord had proposed. Before he sat down he would press upon the noble Lord the propriety of acceding to his suggestion of making his resolution more general by omitting to name any particular society.
§ Mr. Sharman Crawford
said, as his evidence had been specially alluded to by the hon. Member for Middlesex, he trusted he might be permitted to offer a few observations. In justice to the Orangemen of the North of Ireland, he felt himself bound to state, that on the occasion alluded to, when the Orangemen at Crosgar resisted his authority as a Magistrate, acting under the proclamation of the Duke of Northumberland, then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, they were impelled to that resistance solely by the conviction of their having warrants signed by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland. They acted under the false impression that this gave them a legal right to have their processions, and that it had all the power of an authority emanating from the Crown itself. As an additional proof of this, he said that they offered to surrender their warrants to him, if he stated he had an authority from the Crown to demand them, and that in such case they would immediately disperse. Thus the Orangemen were acting under a false impression, and not from any wilful opposition to the law. The Orangemen were sufferers by bad government with their Catholic brethren. They were cherished, supported, and encouraged in every measure for many years, by the several governments to whom power was committed. Latterly, unsuccessful attempts had been made to 834 put them down, and why were those attempts unsuccessful? Because their leaders, persons holding the highest situations; of trust and profit under the Crown, were permitted to abuse and malign the Government, from whom they derived their authority, and to represent to the people, that the conduct and proceedings of that Government were such as to justify a transfer of allegiance. Whilst persons of this description were permitted to hold their offices, and to be the deputies of that very Government which they so maligned, the people have consequently been impressed with the opinion that the demonstrations of opposition to the Orangemen, by the state, were mere pretences, or else that they were too powerful for the state to oppose them. Under such circumstances were the Orangemen to be blamed? Was it not injustice to pass laws against them, and leave the higher class without censure or punishment, who were the active promoters and direct encouragers of the very resistance to the laws they were appointed to administer. There could be no more valuable members of society in any other respect than the great body of the Orangemen of the North of Ireland; and he was satisfied that if Government were to take decided means to show that such societies were illegal, and temperately but steadily act in accordance with such a system of policy, by enforcing obedience from those to whom they delegated the administration of the laws; the Orangemen would submit to the law. The noble Lord at the head of his Majesty's Government seemed to doubt whether the Acts in operation in England were sufficient to justify legal proceedings against the body. He was at a loss to understand upon what grounds the Trades' Unions were declared to be illegal, even under the common law alone, in a proclamation issued some years back, unless on grounds equally applicable to the Orange institutions of Ireland. The noble Lord said, that the Unions exhibited themselves in large bodies of thousands. He asked did not the Orangemen do so in Ireland? Why, then, was there no proclamation issued to warn the people from connecting themselves with the Orange societies? Proclamations had been issued against processions, but not against that organization from which processions proceeded. Why was the evil to be thus trifled with, and why were the 835 people to be thus led astray? Why were they permitted to act thus under false impressions, and then afterwards to be punished for crimes which emanated from the faults of others, and from the imbecility of the Government itself. He thought it necessary to say this much in justice to the Orange societies, and he concluded by giving his cordial support to the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex.
§ Mr. Henry Maxwell
said, that from the situation which he held in connexion with the Orange Lodges, it was necessary he should say a few words. It would be in the recollection of the House, that when the hon. Member for Kilkenny gave his notice of Motion for the appointment of a Select Committee, at the commencement of last Session, to inquire into the state of Orange Lodges in Ireland; that notice was immediately met by the Grand Committee in Dublin, who petitioned the House to institute the strictest inquiry, placing at the disposal of that Committee all their books, and documents, sending over their officers to reveal the secret signs and passwords, and giving every possible information. That Committee was appointed; and he did not object to the numbers on both sides, during the whole of the proceedings, there being fourteen against, and thirteen supposed to be favourable to the Orangemen. He did, however, object to some of the gentlemen who were allowed to be upon the Committee. Of the fourteen who were against them, five were Roman Catholics, and all of them lawyers; out of the five, four were distinguished members of the Roman Catholic Association. The only individual who was not so was the right hon. Gentleman, the present Attorney-General for Ireland. Two gentlemen were distinguished members of the Irish bar. One of these gentlemen (the Member for Tipperary), even before the examination of witnesses commenced, stated distinctly, in the presence of the Committee, that his object was to condemn the Orangemen. He went there, in fact, with his mind made up, and his sentiments ware well known. It would be within recollection, that another learned Gentleman to whom he referred (the Member for Dublin) had made a most eloquent appeal, a few years since, to the worst passions of an infuriated populace, adjuring them by the hatred they bore to Orangemen. He was the 836 only partisan on the Committee; the hon. and gallant officer, the Member for Sligo, (Colonel Perceval) had been nominated upon it, but had refused to serve. At a subsequent period, and at the close of the investigation, the name of the hon. Member for Donegal (Sir E. Hayes) was added. With respect to the general conduct of the Committee, he thought he had every reason to complain. The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Finn) commenced the investigation, by examining witnesses who were brought for the defence. This course he (Mr. Maxwell) objected to, at the time, but not wishing to throw any impediments in the way of the fullest investigation, he subsequently acceded to this rather unusual proposal, but he did so upon the stipulation, that after the officers of the institution had been examined, witnesses for the prosecution, as he might call it, should then be examined, and a full rebutting case afterwards allowed to the Orangemen. This course was adhered to, with the exception of the latter part of the arrangement. The Committee refused, what, in strict justice, and according to agreement, they were bound to admit—namely, the production of witnesses, who were prepared to contradict and explain much of the inculpatory matter adduced before the Committee—but whose evidence was refused to be received, notwithstanding that the witnesses had actually been summoned. All he (Mr. Maxwell) could gain from the Committee was, the examination of his honourable friend, the Member for the county of Armagh (Colonel Verner), to enable him to answer charges personally affecting his character, and of Colonel Blacker—the Committee being as anxious as he (Mr. Maxwell) was, that they should receive information from a gentleman who had belonged to the Orange Institution since its origin, in 1795, to the present day, and to have the benefit of his historical knowledge of the operations of the society for a period of forty years. It was true that he was himself examined—but then it was merely for the purpose of explaining a clerical memorandum, which he had annexed to one of the original warrants—and that Mr. Blacker's re-examination took place for the purpose of explaining the nature of the Colonization Society, which had been loosely termed "Colonies," in one of the resolutions of the society. By this unfair conduct on the part of the 837 Committee, the Orangemen were precluded from what, both in common fairness and by a positive agreement, they were justly entitled to—the possibility of refuting, as they were fully prepared to do, the numerous calumnies and falsehoods which their enemies had brought forward in evidence against them, thus leaving the House and the public to form an opinion adverse to the Orange Society upon ex parte statements, which he (Mr. Maxwell) had ample means, but no opportunity, allowed him to disprove. There was one allegation in the speech of the learned Member for Kilkenny, which he was utterly astonished that any individual in that House could have made. That Gentleman had thought fit to assign in his speech, as the main reason for his not allowing the examination before the Committee to proceed, his conviction that the evidence which had been given was of so injurious a character to the Orange Institution, that the Orangemen on the Committee would (if he had not cut short the inquiry) have destroyed the documents which they had been so forward to place on the Table of the Committee. He would not have condescended to notice such an imputation except for the purpose of giving to it, as applicable to himself, his colleague, (Sir E. Hayes) or those high minded, honourable, upright, and honest Gentlemen whom he had produced as witnesses before the Committee, the fullest, the most unqualified, and indignant refutation. He had repeatedly addressed the House, during the many years he had the honour of a seat in it, in favour of the character and principles of the Orange Society, which he maintained was strictly defensive. He was aware that secret political societies were in themselves great evils, and could only be justified upon the ground of there being an absolute necessity for their existence—such an absolute necessity, he maintained, had existed, and did still exist, where the Protestant institutions of the country were not only threatened with extinction, but were absolutely visited with imminent danger in Ireland. The principles of the Orange Society of Ireland were those of uncompromising loyalty to the Crown, and devoted attachment to the laws of the land—and these were the principles upon which the Orangemen had invariably acted under all circumstances, whether of prosperity or adversity; they were principles, too, which the 838 Orangemen would ever retain, however much they might be aspersed by those to whom they were politically opposed. Having made this observation, he treated with contempt the charge which had been made against the Orangemen of Ireland, of wishing to alter the succession to the throne. Two hon. Gentlemen, who had addressed the House upon this subject, had spoken of the misconduct of the Orangemen of England. Of that body he (Mr. Maxwell) knew nothing; he was not acquainted with its rules and regulations; it formed no part of the Irish system; there was nothing in common between them, except that the Duke of Cumberland was at the head of the Orangemen in both kingdoms. It had been said, that the illustrious Duke was the irresponsible head of the Orangemen in England. He (Mr. Maxwell) knew not how that fact might be; but this he could say, that the Duke of Cumberland was not the irresponsible head of the Orange body in Ireland. In the Irish body the illustrious Duke possessed no more power than he (Mr. Maxwell) did, and he (Mr. Maxwell), as an individual, possessed no more power than the commonest member of the society. He would not now trespass further upon the patience of the House, than to state that it was not his intention to reply to any of the observations made in the temperate, moderate, and judicious speech of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell). If the words "Orange Society" were omitted from the resolution which the noble Lord concluded by moving, he (Mr. Maxwell) should offer no opposition to it. The Orangemen of Ireland (continued the hon. Gentleman) as I have already observed, consider themselves bound to obey the law of the land. We consider as tantamount to the law of the land, the express commands of the Sovereign. If, therefore, His Majesty should express a decided wish that the Orange Society of Ireland (whether mentioned by name, or not, and I should hope it would not be specifically mentioned in the address)—if his Majesty should express a decided wish, that societies of a similar nature and tendency should cease, under pain of incurring his serious displeasure, I, speaking as an Orangeman myself—and, I believe, I may include the whole body in the assertion—declare that there is not an Orangeman in Ireland who, rather than act as a bad 839 subject, although the step might be most painful to his feelings, would not cease at once to be a Member of the Orange body.
§ Colonel Verner
said, as my name stands in the list of notices for a motion upon the subject which is now before the House, I trust I may be permitted to address a few observations to it, which I feel more particularly called upon to do, from the nature of the noble Lord's resolutions which have just been read. I do not consider it necessary to notice the allusion made by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, respecting nine or ten houses which were burned at Armagh, now magnified, by him, into sixteen, or to follow him through his several charges against the Orange body and his many statements, upon the occasion of bringing forward his motion a few nights since, neither do I think it necessary to quiet the hon. Member's loyal apprehensions, with regard to the dangers to the succession to the throne. Danger to the succession, and from the Orangemen—there is not a man of common understanding who could seriously entertain the idea. I am quite sure the illustrious Princess, on whom the hopes and affections of the people are fixed, is not distrustful of any portion of the Protestants of Great Britain; but of this I am also sure, that even in the general attachment of all, the loyalty of Orangemen will not be least conspicuous. And if there were danger to the throne or the succession, and a day was come which I may be permitted to hope is far distant, that that illustrious Princess had to call upon her subjects—in the hour of danger—there is not throughout the extent of the land an Orange Lodge, in every member of which they could not find a champion ready to risk life and fortune, and shed the last drop of his blood in the maintenance of her rightful authority. The House is fully aware, as stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Cavan, that a Committee sat last session for several days to inquire into Orange Societies in Ireland—that it took the depositions of very many witnesses against that society—some in its favour, but many more were postponed, and ultimately refused to be examined. The House must also recollect that that Committee did not make any report upon the evidence adduced before it; and was it not rather too much for the hon. Member for Kilkenny to expect that when a Committee, especially 840 appointed to examine evidence, was unable to make a report to this House, the great majority of its members remaining unacquainted with the character of the witnesses and the value of their testimony, should accept the opinion of the hon. Member as the impartial decision of an unprejudiced person, and adopt it as their own? At least I should expect that the accused party should have, what the Committee denied it, a full hearing, and it would not be too much to claim that it should have what, in the hon. Member's Committee it had not, an impartial tribunal. I do not make this assertion lightly, I remember well that the hon. Member, when first he moved for a Committee, declared his wish that it should consist of Members without prejudice on the subject; he even desired, if I rightly remember, that it should consist of English Members, aided by one Irish Member on each side. Subsequently the arrangement was altered. I acquit the hon. Member of blame. I impute blame, indeed, to no party concerned; but it is right to state, that the original design of a Committee was abandoned, and that members were placed upon it who had declared themselves the inveterate enemies of the society, on the character and tendency of which they were to hear evidence and pronounce judgment. It was altogether a strange and inconsistent alteration. The hon. and learned Members for Dublin and Tipperary were placed upon the Committee, and I, when it was proposed that I should be substituted in the place of an hon. Member who had resigned, I was excluded. Was this fair? On what grounds could I be objected to? I was not impartial. Was this to be an objection, when the hon. Members for Dublin, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Dungarvon had been selected? What was the Committee? Was it a court where contending interests had their representatives? Was it a Jury where a cause should be impartially tried? If it were such a court, why was I excluded? If it were a Jury, why was the hon. and learned Member for Dublin placed upon it? I feel myself especially called upon to notice the fact of my exclusion, in consequence of a statement made in the Edinburgh Review, in an article in which indeed there is the candid acknowledgement that the Reviewer's object is not to do justice to the Orange Society, but to exhibit whatever demerits may be as- 841 cribed to it. In that article too it is asserted that Colonel Verner was a Member of the Committee, and therefore I think it right here to affirm, that that statement is one among the many inexcusable misrepresentations with which the Review is chargeable. I am unwilling to trespass upon one moment of the time of the House unnecessarily, and was it not that I feel confident I can, with the most positive assurance of success, satisfy the House as to the correctness of the evidence given by one of the principal witnesses who were examined before the Committee, I should not venture to crave its indulgence, while I, very briefly, call its attention to the evidence of one or two gentlemen, which I have reason to believe has not failed to leave an impression upon the public mind prejudicial to the Orange Institution, and there were some facts stated by Mr. Randal Kernan, which I hope to be able to show, to use the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Bandon, are anything but facts. In order to do so, Sir, it will be necessary that I should read to the House a small portion of the evidence of Mr. Randal Kernan. Sir, the first case to which I shall call the attention of the House, is the well-known case of Mr. Hamilton, The learned Gentleman states he was counsel for the case, consequently must have been well acquainted with all the particulars. The following was his deposition:—7327—The friends of the deceased and the party who were assaulted, heard that Lieutenant Hamilton intended to fly the country, they made a prisoner of him, and brought him before two Magistrates; the rev. Mr. Stack was the name of one, I have not the name of the other Magistrate.7329—The people applied to those Magistrates to grant a warrant to commit Lieutenant Hamilton. The Magistrates refused, saying, they would take the father's security for the son's appearance, and they did take his verbal security. Young Mr. Hamilton thought proper to forfeit the verbal bail taken by the Magistrates. He fled from the country, and did not return for some years. He is now returned, and is a Justice of the Peace for the Co. Tyrone.7330—I know Mr. Hamilton is now a Justice of the Peace in that county in which he is charged with having committed the murder.7334—I was counsel in that case.The House will here observe that counsellor Kernan states, in direct terms, not once but twice, and from his own knowledge, that Mr. Hamilton is now a Ma- 842 gistrate for the county of Tyrone. The House will judge of the accuracy of this assertion when it has heard the letter of the Lieutenant for that county. Sir, this is the letter of Lord Caledon to the noble Lord opposite, the Chief Secretary for Ireland:—Caledon, 29th January, 1836.My Lord—As it was stated in evidence by Mr. Randal Kernan, before a Committee of the House of Commons which sat to inquire into the nature of Orange Lodges, when speaking of Mr. Hamilton, 'he is now a Justice of the Peace in that county (Tyrone) in which he is charged with having committed the murders, and on which charge a bill of indictment was found against him,' it becomes my duty to acquaint your Lordship that Mr. Hamilton neither is, nor ever was, a Justice of the Peace for the county of Tyrone.I apprised Mr. Kernan on the 29th of October, 1835, of the error into which he had fallen, and which he at once admitted, but as I know that his evidence has misled the public at large, I entreat your Lordship to adopt the mode you think best to undeceive it.I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient, humble servant,CALEDON.'Viscount Morpeth, &c. &c.I shall now beg to call the attention of the House to that part of the learned Gentleman's evidence, where he states that Lieutenant Hamilton was made prisoner, and taken before Mr. Stack and another Magistrate, who refused to take examinations, or grant a warrant, but admitted him to bail upon the verbal promise of his father for his future appearance. Sir, the letter I am now about to read to the House is from Mr. Stack, the Magistrate named by Mr. Kernan:—My Dear Sir—In reply to your letter of the 16th instant, I assure you that if counsellor Kernan said I released Mr. Hamilton on the word of his father, it is a complete fabrication. Mr. Hamilton was never brought before me in. custody or otherwise, on the charge alluded to. You might of yourself, almost, have contradicted such an assertion, from your knowledge of the Magistrates here. I am much obliged for your communication, and remain yours, most truly, THOMAS STACK.Omagh, February 19, 1835.The next case referred to in the evidence of Mr. Kernan is the case of M'Cabe v. Robinson; and, Sir, I shall beg leave to read a small portion of the learned Gentleman's evidence relative to it.7274—Can state a very remarkable case tried by Chief Justice Bushe in the county of Tyrone.8437273—Cannot give the date precisely without referring to his notes, it was about ten, or from ten to twelve years. It was an indictment for murder.7275—The name of the party was M'Cabe v. Robinson and others.7276—The son of the deceased was the prosecutor, a man residing neat Portadown, of the name of M'Cabe.7277—He was a Roman Catholic.7278—It was in the Lodge-room the conspiracy was hatched.7279—The trial was at Omagh. The first time or second time the Judge went that circuit.7283—After the trial, the Chief Justice sent for me. I went to him, and he said, in substance—'You are the only barrister who took a full note of this trial, do you intend to publish it?' I said, "certainly I do." He said, 'Kernan, my dear fellow, do you think its publication would pacify the country, &c.'7296—Four or five were tried, has destroyed or lost his notes, and cannot tell the number indicted.7309—Either the Chief Justice, on reference to his notes, (he cannot forget the trial) or the clerk of the Crown, or the Crown Solicitor, on reference to the Crown hook, can, in a minute, state particulars.The House will observe that this trial is said to have taken place from ten to twelve years ago, and to have been tried before Chief Justice Bushe, at Omagh, on the north-west circuit, in the county Tyrone. Now, I can take upon me to state that since that worthy Judge has had a seat on the Bench, he has never gone the northwest circuit. In the years 1810, 1811, and 1821, (the latter of which is fifteen years ago, that Gentleman went that circuit, as Solicitor-General; but I can affirm, without the fear of contradiction, that no such case as M'Cabe v. Robinson or any case resembling it, was tried before him, and what is more, that no such case appears on the Crown books of that circuit. So the conversation which the learned Counsellor states to have taken place between him and that upright and worthy Judge, in which he addresses him with the familiar expression of "my dear fellow," has no existence, save in the brain of the learned Gentleman. But as the learned witness so boldly referred to the notes of the learned Judge, I venture to say that he would have proved his discretion better had he made an application to that distinguished individual, before he gave his testimony; and I also undertake to say, that that most excellent Judge, who has for so many years exercised the 844 judicial functions in a manner to do honour to himself and to reflect credit on the Bench, would have answered him as I now answer his statement, that it was altogether without foundation. The only further observation I shall make upon this case is, that the learned Gentleman states the accused parties to have issued from their Lodge-room near Portadown. Now, Portadown is in the county of Armagh, consequently had the transaction occurred in that county the trial would have taken place in that county and not in Tyrone.—It is said that an Act of parliament to put down all secret societies would restore peace. Why, the only society which disturbs the peace in Ireland, defies Acts of Parliament, and has evaded the researches of all Government functionaries. What knowledge have these Gentlemen obtained respecting Riband societies? I shall let the House see. Here the hon. Member referred to the evidences of Colonel Stoven, Mr. J. Gore Jones, and Mr. Duff, c. c. 6, professing their total ignorance of the existence of Riband societies, differing so very materially from the evidence of that respectable gentleman, Mr. Sinclair, of Strabane, who stated that he knew they existed to a large extent; for as the hon. Member for Middlesex has quoted the evidence of Mr. Innes, of Glasgow, upon the subject of Orange Lodges in Scotland, I must be permitted to call the attention of the House to what that Gentleman has said upon the subject of Ribbon societies, and compare it with the evidence of those gentlemen whom I have just named.
Mr. Cosmo Innes gave evidence as follows:2959—Cannot say that he has discovered Ribbon Lodges, but is aware of their existence.2960—Had information of their meetings at Glasgow to a considerable extent. In all instances there was a meeting of twenty-four delegates from different Societies of Ireland—men at one time in Glasgow, when they were addressed and stimulated by a paid emissary of the Ribbonmen who had come from Ireland.2963—They meet every day in a different place—they never keep to one place of meeting.2970—Has no doubt that an emissary was sent from Ireland to attend a Ribbon Lodge in Glasgow.2971—Thinks he has got hold of an emissary but is not sure of convicting him, as the 845 evidence was not complete when he left Glasgow.How are we to account for the superior information of this Gentleman? Because he was discharging a duty to the laws, and keeping vigilant watch on those who threatened, whether openly or in secret, the public security. In Ireland stipendiary Magistrates occupied themselves in finding out the politics of gentlemen, and ascertaining, not whether law was enforced or endangered, but how certain persons stood affected towards the Government or the Ministry of the day. I shall read an extract from the Report of Mr. Duff, given in by himself in evidence before the Committee:—Mr. Duff, Chief Constable of Police.—Extract from his Report to the Government:—"As a further convincing proof as to Colonel Verner's wishes to oppose and embarrass the Government, I feel it my duty to state the following circumstance, which I can have proved at any time called on, and which took place during my absence on duty from this district—namely, that on the night the intelligence reached this part of the country as to Earl Grey's resignation, he (Colonel Verner) assembled the Orangemen of his neighbourhood to celebrate the event at his own house, in front of which he had an immense large bonfire erected, the bands playing party tunes.This constable resides in a different county—in a different district from where he states this transaction to have taken place, and with which, officially, he is unconnected; how far the statement may be correct is immaterial; the act of that gentleman is all I have to do with; to have obtained this information he must have been indebted toothers—whether employed by him for the purpose, or not, it is impossible for me to say, but I would wish him a more profitable employment, and if spies are to be placed upon me, which is to me a matter of total indifference, I think it would be much better if they were persons who, while keeping watch upon me, were not neglecting matters of much greater moment. This gentleman describes himself as Chief Constable of Police and Captain of Militia. I am greatly mistaken if the members of that highly respectable and valuable body, which has rendered such services to its country, would not have preferred that the gallant captain had not given himself this title, or, having done so, that he had omitted to state the description of service in which he has been of late engaged, that of reporting se- 846 cretly to the government the private acts of the gentry of the country, and the occurrences which take place within the precincts of their desmesnes—and for aught I know, within the walls of their mansion. I am now speaking my sentiments as a military man—and, in my day, it was not the description of duty which was considered exactly creditable to a gentleman bearing the rank of captain in his Majesty's service. I shall now notice what I consider a very remarkable circumstance. That the hon. Members who have been most conspicuous in their exertions to put down Orange societies, have been equally notorious for their efforts to excite agitation in the Colonies and in Ireland. The endeavours of the hon. member for Middlesex are too remarkable to be forgotten, and were of a character that it was impossible to misunderstand. That hon. Gentleman, who looked with hope to see the Canadas liberated from what he called "the baleful domination of the mother country," labours also to see Orangeism put down in the Colonies. The hon. Member for Dublin, and I may add, the Member for Kilkenny, hope to see Ireland "great, glorious, and free," and hope that that establishment, the rival one in which the hon. Member takes some interest—the establishment which is called the Bank of Ireland may give way to that which is called the Hibernian Bank, and an Irish parliament may again resume its sittings in College-green. Well, these hon. Members whose hearts are set on the Repeal of the Union—the hon. Member who so frequently declared that if the Orangemen would join him, in twelve months he should have attained his object—who assigns even now, as a reason why he for a short time abstains from urging it, that the Orangemen are opposed to his wishes—these hon. Members seek to put down Orangeism in Ireland. Plain men, who would strengthen the bonds of British connexion with Ireland, and would keep up a good understanding with the colonies; plain men, who would oppose the repealer in Ireland and the disturber in Canada, will not think it unfavourable to the Orange Society that such persons are its enemies. I know it may be said that better motives than the wish to remove an impediment out of the way of agitation, may influence some who desire to destroy the Orange Institution. They may express a hope that the country 847 would be more contented if that institution were put down, and that it is to produce that contentment they labour for its destruction. Well, the hon. Member for Kilkenny, where there is no Orange Lodge, says that his county will become more peaceful if the Protestants of the North are insulted, and their institutions broken down. Will Kilkenny Juries be improved, or the condition of the people in Kilkenny bettered? Does the hon. Member for Tipperary affirm that the wages of assassination will rise in the county which he represents—that murders will be less frequent, and justice more surely visited on the offender? Does the hon. Member for Dublin mean to say, that any one of the counties in the province of Munster would become more tranquil, if Orangemen in Ulster were put down; or, will any of these hon. Members affirm, that any county in the south or west of Ireland, I care not which they name, any county, where, if they please, no Orange Lodge is in existence, equals in tranquillity—in absence of systematic disorder—in freedom from crime, the very worst county, or if they please to name it, the most thickly studded with Orange Lodges in Ulster. Will they submit this to the test of a strict and close inquiry? I will make, Sir, a bold statement, and a fair proposal. The province of Ulster contains nine counties, and a population of considerably more than a fourth of the people of Ireland. I affirm that over that entire province, during the thirty-five years which have elapsed since the Union with Great Britain, so many cold-blooded and atrocious crimes have not been committed as have been perpetrated within a single year, and in a single county, in the part of Ireland where Orangeism is almost unknown. Let a Jury of twelve English Members be impanelled upon the case. If I do not prove it triumphantly, I submit to be stigmatised for culpable presumption. If I prove it if I shew that the history of one southern county for a year, a month, records more atrocities than can be charged against the Protestants of the nine counties of Ulster during the lapse of five-and-thirty years, what is to be thought of their case who so strenuously labour to break the bonds of that Union, to which, under God, the tranquillity of the north should be ascribed There is another circumstance to be observed. I affirm that not a single statement hag been contradicted or shaken ad- 848 vanced in defence of the Orange body. We have placed it on record, that until the formation of Orange societies, Ulster was in disorder—that from that time to this it has been tranquil. I beg in conclusion to make one more proposal, and I respectfully address it to his Majesty's Ministers.—let them take up the county of Tipperary, where every thing will favour the experiment, and try their hands upon it—if within five years they restore it to peace, I undertake on the part of Armagh that we will receive with the utmost deference the slightest intimation of their desire and will. But if they give up Tipperary, or if they fail to raise it to that state for which we, in Armagh, have reason to be thankful, I would pray of them to leave us in Armagh in our present tranquillity—and I would add, that it is much easier to disturb a district which is confessed to be quiet, than it is to improve the condition of a disturbed one.
§ Colonel Perceval
said, that circumstanced as he was—being an officer of the Orange Institution, he trusted that a British House of Commons would not refuse him a patient hearing. He begged to state that it was not his intention to address the House at any length, and if hon. Members would but attend to him, he undertook not to occupy them more than a few minutes. It had been his lot on many occasions to address the House on the subject of the Orange Institution,—and from the tone and temper in which the debate was conducted, he could not conceal from himself that the discussions on the Orange Institution were now about to come to a close. The great characteristic of the Orange Institutions of Ireland had been inalienable loyalty. In no case, under no circumstances, had any change taken place in their feelings of loyalty to the King, and attachment to the Constitution and the Protestant religion. Such had been their polar star heretofore, and now that a crisis had arrived, he entertained a confident hope that Orangemen would, one and all, manifest the same unflinching loyalty which had always been nearest and dearest to their hearts. He believed it now impossible that any Orangeman could for a moment think of averting the Address to his Majesty to discountenance all secret associations, and in that feeling he would imitate the example of his hon. Friend near him, and inculcate on those 849 with whom he had been now four years associated, to submit to the expressed will of his Majesty, which to them was tantamount to law, and to succumb to the opinion which the House was about to express. Having said so much he could not proceed without expressing his satisfaction at the tone, the temper, and the moderation of the noble Lord (John Russell) and he hoped that those with whom he was connected would act in the same conciliatory disposition; but he trusted that the noble Lord would not weaken the moral influence in Ireland of those on whom he thus called to make a sacrifice of their feelings, by introducing the words Orange Institution into the resolution, or diminish that power by which they might hope to prevail on their less informed brethren to imitate their example. With these feelings he trusted the noble Lord would consent to withdraw the words "Orange Societies," That body formed a part of the secret societies in Ireland, and he did hope that the noble Lord would not insist on maintaining the words, the effect of which must be to stigmatize that body who were ready to conform to his Majesty's wishes. The words would convey a sting, and would tend to weaken the influence of those in whom the members of the Orange institution placed confidence. He assured the noble Lord that the influence of those individuals who took the lead in the Orange Institution, and who are now willing to act up to the spirit of the resolution, would be greatly weakened, and their power of inducing others to imitate their example would be much diminished, if they believed (and they would believe it), if they saw that they only were mentioned that the chief aim of the resolution was to put down Orange associations exclusively. He therefore called upon the noble Lord to omit those two words, and then his resolution would embrace all secret societies, without stigmatizing the Orange body, as the address in its present shape so unnecessarily did. He concurred in much of what had fallen from the noble Lord, but he differed from him in thinking that Orange associations were formed to support Protestant ascendancy, and that Ribbonmen or Defenders arose out of those associations. He remembered that in the year 1795, when he was but a small boy, the Defenders—the Ribonmen of that day—existed as a party—that they 850 were in the habit of going about in the open day, in the county of Sligo, and attacking gentlemen's houses, and demanding arms. He remembered the attack made by a party of those Defenders on the house of his father, who was a clergyman of the Established church, and that the party would have hanged him, but for the prompt interference of the Protestants of the neighbouring village of Ballymote, in that county, who came to his aid. This was anterior to the formation of any Orange Societies. It, in fact, occurred in the year '95, whereas, the first Orange Lodge was formed in the county of Sligo, in the year 1796. The various ramifications of that Institution, in different parts of Ireland, will be found consequent upon similar outrages, thereby proving, that the Orange Institution was strictly of a defensive or protective character. The facts which he had stated, had the Committee been allowed to continue its labours, would have been proved by Colonel Irwin, a name known to and respected by every Irish gentleman who had been summoned over for that purpose. Having said thus much, he would only repeat to the noble Lord his earnest hope that he would consent to make the alteration to which he had already referred, in the wording of the resolution, in consideration of the feeling in which the spirit of that resolution was met by those who were connected with Orange societies at that (the opposition) aide of the house.
rose. Some Gentlemen, the noble Lord observed, were anxious for a division, but his earnest hope was that there might be no division on the question before the House. He was so much afraid to make use of a single expression which might disturb the harmony that pervaded the House, that he would not have arisen if he could resist the temptation to congratulate his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) on the triumph he had obtained by the mild, quiet, prudent, and statesmanlike tone he had assumed on this occasion. It was a source of great satisfaction to him, to observe that on a subject like that before them, which was so well calculated to excite strong feelings, and more particularly the feelings of Irish Members, there had not, with scarcely one exception, been uttered a sentiment which did not do honour to him who spoke it. He attributed this to the mild and conciliatory tone in which his noble Friend, had intro- 851 duced his amendment to the House. He (Lord Stanley) begged to congratulate his noble Friend and his Majesty's Government on the great triumph he had thus achieved, As an old and sincerely attached friend, he congratulated his noble Friend on it, and he also congratulated the Government on the great accession of strength it had thus acquired, and on the manner in which it had been acquired. His noble Friend had achieved this triumph not by flattering prejudices, which ought not to be flattered, but which, how everyone might differ from them, ought to be treated with forbearance, because they were held with sincerity. He was certain that even amongst those who were most anxious to support Orange Societies in Ireland, there were many who would be convinced that the tone of his noble Friend, though it was not that most calculated to flatter passions and prejudices, was at least that which would contribute most to the tranquillity of the country. In expressing his admiration of the prudent course taken by his noble Friend for the purpose of putting down all secret associations in Ireland, he must not withhold that meed of praise, which he was sure their most bitter enemies would concede to the gallant and manly conduct in which the conciliatory tone of his noble Friend had been met by hon. Members at that (the Opposition) side of the House. He was sure that in that way his noble Friend would acquire more strength to his Government, and would more effectually succeed in the object he had in view, than he could by the most severe penal enactments. At the same time he felt convinced that his noble Friend would do justice to the hon. and gallant Friends near him (Lord Stanley,) for their willingness thus to respond to his conciliatory tone by the sacrifice of early prejudices. His hon. and gallant Friends would excuse him for calling them prejudices, but he did so think them, though, at the same time, he firmly believed that they were most sincerely and conscientiously entertained. It was not his intention to enter into any argument on the question before the House. For his own part he was satisfied with the amendment of his noble Friend. His noble Friend had seen the advantages of a conciliatory course, and had fully availed himself of that experience. It was impossible for any one to doubt, from what had occurred with respect, to Orange Associations in the last 852 Session of Parliament, that they were most pointedly included in the spirit of the present resolution, and that that would have been the understanding with respect to them, whether they had been mentioned by name or not. His hon. and gallant Friends near him had so understood it, and had expressed themselves willing to make the required sacrifice, though the name of Orange Societies had not been mentioned. He would therefore ask his noble Friend whether he was not prepared, by way of completing his triumph, to omit those words which could not add to the moral force of his resolution, but which might have the effect of weakening the influence of those by whose co-operation that resolution might be rendered most available for its intended object [Oh, oh.] Gentlemen who cried ''Oh," had a very different idea of a ministerial triumph from that which he had. He looked upon a triumph not as that of a party over a fallen adversary, he looked to the triumph of a Minister, who, by his mild, conciliatory, and statesman-like conduct, had achieved a national triumph over party prejudices which two years ago any man would have deemed almost impossible. That was the kind of triumph which was within his noble Friend's grasp—that was the kind of triumph which he wished to complete, and it was from that wish that he earnestly hoped his noble Friend would consent to the omission of those objectionable words. For his own part he did not object to them; but though he did not, he still felt that they were objected to by others as tending to diminish that power and influence which they were prepared to assert in carrying out the spirit of the resolution. It was important for the purpose of the resolution itself that that power should not be diminished, nor any stigma be thrown on those who were ready to exert it. He was sure his noble Friend had not meant by the use of those words to cast any imputation. He was sure the resolution was so understood by Gentlemen of that (the Opposition) side. But the same feeling would not be found to exist amongst their less informed brethren. Amongst that class, the use of those words might have the effect of marring the exertions of those hon. Members who were disposed to act up to the spirit of the resolution. Let it be recollected, that in carrying out that resolution they had to encounter the prejudices and. feelings of those who would take a very 853 different view of it from his hon. and gallant Friends, and who might not be prepared to make a similar sacrifice. It was on these grounds that he earnestly hoped his noble Friend would wave the use of even one word which might offend the feelings of even one Member of that House. If his noble Friend did, he should have the satisfaction of knowing that he had spent one night in the British Parliament which had been marked by mutual forbearance, and that that desirable result had been brought about by the kind, prudent, and conciliatory conduct of old and valued Friends of his own; and that in consequence of such conciliatory conduct, there were many hon. Members prepared to make a sacrifice of their early prejudices, in that spirit which would greatly tend to the pacification of the country.
§ Lord John Russell
hoped that the House would indulge him a few moments after the appeal made to him by his noble Friend. He assured the Mouse, that after the statement of the hon. and gallant Colonel, and of his noble Friend who had just sat down, he felt great pain in being obliged to state that he had heard nothing in the able statements of both which could induce him to alter the resolution in the way they had suggested. In saying this, he hoped he should be understood as not unwilling so to frame the resolution as to meet the wishes of the hon. and gallant Colonel, and of others who felt sensitively on this subject, if he could do so without departing from that which he considered his duty on the present occasion. It did appear to him, after what had occurred last year, that a necessity had arisen for putting an end to all secret associations, and that the House was bound to declare its opinion whether those societies were injurious or otherwise to the public tranquillity. He did not think, therefore, that the House would meet the case fairly unless it inserted in the resolution the words "Orange Lodges." It was beyond doubt that all the previous debate had referred to those societies, but, after what had occurred, and after mentioning other societies in general, it was their duty to mention these in particular; and he owned that he did not see why hon. Gentlemen should think that the use of those words implied a stigma on them; there was no opinion pronounced as to the legality of those societies—there was nothing more said than that these as well as other secret 854 societies should receive the disapprobation of the Crown. Under these circumstances, he regretted his inability to comply with the suggestion of his noble Friend.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, that the refusal of the noble Lord to comply with the request of his noble Friend, would not alter the tone and temper of the few observations he should make. He was sure that it would be for the tranquillity of Ireland that an end should be put to all secret societies in that country. The existence of any of them was an evil, inasmuch as it held out a bad example to others. His opinion and his wish were, not only that an end should be put to all such associations, but he also wished to see the spirit in which they originated entirely and effectually suppressed. If the spirit remained, they would gain little by the suppression of its external forms. But he did regret that the noble Lord should not have given way to the suggestion of the noble Lord's Friend (Lord Stanley), for he owned that though he was prepared to assent to the noble Lord's amendment, it was not without great sacrifice of opinion. He objected to proceeding by resolution; he thought they ought to indicate the will of the Legislature by a law rather than by a resolution of one branch of it. They ought studiously to avoid a course by which a dominant majority of that House could denounce any party. They should be cautious in denouncing by a majority of that House any proceedings of any bodies, which, though they might be objectionable in many respects, might still not be against any law of the land. The resolutions of that House had no force, except such as the prerogative of the Crown might give them; they had not the force of law, and this was the first time that he had heard of establishing the precedent of a resolution of that House, disqualifying for office on the alleged ground of conduct, the legality of which was at least questionable. However, he waved all those objections, for he perceived that all in that House were prepared to address the Crown to put an end to all secret societies. Independently of his own feeling on the subject, he objected to the words which had been used that Orange Societies were illegal. The hon. Baronet who had seconded the resolution, had declared that all those societies were contrary to the law of the land, and added that the Attorney-General had nothing to 855 do but to institute prosecutions, in order to have them so declared by the Courts of Law. Now, if that was so, it was a powerful objection to this resolution, because if they believed that the members of Orange societies ought to be prosecuted, and were amenable to the law, they ought not to send them to trial loaded with the declared opinion of that House as to their guilt. In fact, the only ground on which the resolution before the House proceeded was, that these societies were not contrary to law; the noble Lord was, therefore, right in not sending them, to another tribunal, for if the issue of such a trial should be a declaration of their legality, the noble Lord would find it much more difficult to put them down on a future occasion. If, then, there was a doubt as to the illegality of those societies, that was a reason why they should not be specifically mentioned in the resolution. It was not, as he had before said, to the mere Orange lodges to which he objected, but to the spirit in which they had originated. He admitted that the words of the resolution did virtually include Orange lodges, even without naming them; and he saw no advantage which they could gain by those societies being specifically mentioned. The acquiescence of that (the Opposition) side in the resolution of the noble Lord, was not that of a reluctant minority; they had come to the House prepared to acquiesce in a resolution couched in nearly the same words as that of the noble Lord. They had not expected his Amendment; they were prepared to oppose the criminatory resolution of the hon. Member for Middlesex; but when they heard the expressed declaration of many hon. Members, that they were prepared to give up all connexion with such associations, on hearing an expression of the will of the Crown to that effect, they thought that the object of that House, and of the Government, would be sufficiently answered by the resolution which an hon. Member (Mr. Wilson Patten) had expressed his intention of moving, which was, that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, praying that his Majesty might be graciously pleased to take such steps as to his Majesty might seem most desirable, to discountenance all secret societies, having secret signs, and excluding persons on account of difference in religious sentiments. This was the Address to which they were prepared to agree, before they 856 knew the course which the noble Lord intended to take; and, after what had been stated by hon. Members at that (the Opposition) side of the House, he thought the most effectual mode of suppressing secret societies would be, by withdrawing words which were found offensive to those from whose example and influence they might expect co-operation in their great object. That great object was to restore tranquillity to Ireland. His hon. and gallant Friends on that side were disposed to make a great sacrifice of their opinions for that purpose. They expressed their readiness not only to withdraw themselves from those associations, but to induce all others over whom they had any influence to follow their example. It would, therefore, be prudent and politic in the House not to weaken the influence of those from whom they had reason to expect such co-operation. In Conclusion, he felt bound to observe, that after what he had heard of the intention of his hon. and gallant Friends to co-operate with them in their views—after what he had heard of the sacrifices they were willing to make of their prejudices and feelings, he thought it incumbent on the House not to allow any word to remain in the resolution to wound the sensibility of any one hon. Member. If those hon. Members who objected to the wording of the resolution as proposed by the noble Lord, did not choose to press their objection, they might save the House a division; but if they did, he felt that, after the declarations they had made, he could not abandon them. He must, therefore, vote with him.
came to the House strongly determined to support the principle of the resolution, but he hailed with great satisfaction the proceedings of that night. From that day party triumph ought to cease, and be buried in total oblivion; and he declared solemnly, that if he thought the words "Orange Lodges" could be construed into any thing like a party triumph, rather than a mere distinctive appellation, after the speeches of the right hon. Baronet (the Member for Tamworth), and the hon. and gallant Colonel (the Member for Sligo), he could not possibly consent to fix such a stigma upon that body. He thought the introduction of the words "Orange Lodges" was necessary for the intelligibility of the resolution, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite thought there was any other body in 857 Ireland a specification of which would render the resolution less invidious, he for one was ready to consent to it. But what course did the hon. Gentlemen pursue in 1829, in passing a temporary Act of Parliament making the Catholic Association perpetually illegal? It was done so as to put an end to it, and no man felt personally affected by that political exclusion. Its object was fulfilled. For his (Mr. O'Connell's) part, he sincerely hoped, from the candid and manly avowal of the gallant Member for Sligo, that the Orange Lodges would see the propriety of dissolving voluntarily, though from what fell from the gallant Colonel opposite (Colonel Verner), who seemed to say (and if he misunderstood him he should be glad to be set right), that he for one would not abandon the institution, he had no strong expectation of the fact. The gallant Member certainly possessed considerable influence with that body, and if he chose to lake that part and continue the Lodges, and that any future Administration received an address from an Orange Lodge—and there were Administrations who did receive addresses from Orangemen—then the resolutions of the noble Lord would stand recorded on the books of that House condemning the Act. That was one advantage in retaining the words in the resolution. The resolution was not a triumph to any party; there could be no triumph, after what had passed that night. The Orangemen had given an honourable proof of their conciliatory spirit, and he was sure, that their genuine loyalty, of which they were so proud, would be a shield and a safeguard to protect them from any imputation. He was sure not the slightest censure could attach to them. The words were not an imputation, but merely a specification. There was no possible disgrace or disapprobation, he repeated, to be inferred from them. The former resolutions of his Friend, the Member for Middlesex, were certainly calculated to affix a stigma and a censure, and for this reason, after what had occurred that night, he would not support them. The conduct of the noble Lord was highly temperate and creditable, and deserved the approbation of the House, and if there were a division he would, undoubtedly, vote for the noble Lord's amendment.
Mr. Randal Plunkett
having been himself personally assailed, as well as allusion having been made to a noble relative of 858 his, thought the House ought to hear him. He would just read the extract from the paper alluded to, and then the House would see that he could not have meant to convey the idea hinted at; but he would tell the House what he must have written, and then the House could judge. He must have meant that the Orange Society was the only one comprising persons of all ranks, viz., from the rank nearest to the Throne to the poorest peasant. He should not condescend to defend himself or the Orangemen from a charge of treason. He came down to the House fully prepared with most important documents to prove the existence and character of those combinations against Protestants, which render such an union thereof, if not absolutely necessary, at least desirable; but, in the present disposition of the House, he should not even allude to them. He could only say, that whatever might be the pleasure of his most gracious Majesty, in whatever way signified by his responsible advisers, he would exert his influence, as far as it extended, in the county over which a noble relative of his, who had been alluded to, presides as lieutenant. He did not mean to blame the manner in which that allusion was made, to induce others to obey honestly, sincerely, and promptly, notwithstanding the pain he felt at the present decision. But he must press upon the noble Lord, if he expected them either to have or to exert any influence with their brother Orangemen, to withdraw the offensive expression in his Amendment. The loyalty of the Orangemen was not conditional loyalty, as they should prove, whatever it might cost them.
§ Mr. Shaw
said, he rose for no other purpose, at that period of the debate, than to entreat his hon. Friends behind him, connected with the Orange society, under all the circumstances, not to divide the House. He felt for their situation, and he could not sufficiently express his admiration of the candour, the ingenuousness, and the manliness with which they had stated their willingness dutifully to submit to the pleasure of the Crown, when once it should be declared. He must, too, add his warmest and sincerest thanks to those which his hon. Friends had already received, for the great sacrifice they were prepared to make of private and personal feeling in deference to the wishes and opinions of those friends who had the good fortune to think and act with them, on almost every question of 859 public interest, and at a time when it was so important that no circumstance should divide the influence, or weaken the strength of that great constitutional party with which they were identified. He could not, however, but strongly put it to the judgment and great taste of the noble Lord, after the temperate and judicious speech the noble Lord had made, to withdraw the words "Orange lodges," to which objection had been taken by his hon. Friends, and leave the resolution general.—The noble Lord would, by that means, better promote the object he professed, of putting an end to secret associations, and allaying party spirit, without allowing the transactions of that night to wear the aspect of a party triumph—although the hon. and learned Member for Dublin (Mr. O'Connell) had altogether disclaimed that interpretation of it. He believed that the noble Lord would assent to omit the words, were he to consult his own better feelings and unbiassed judgment—but if the noble Lord still persisted in his refusal—he, notwithstanding, would implore his hon. Friends rather to suffer the objectionable words to remain, than bring the question to a division upon a point which was after all rather literal than real, when upon the substantial question they had so generously overcome their own inclinations—and when a division must tend to the embarrassment of others, whose anxious desire had been expressed, and he believed most sincerely was to act with his Hon. Friends on that occasion.
§ Mr. Anthony Lefroy
rose amidst loud cries of "question," and said, that after so protracted a debate, he should rather have abstained from offering any observations, if he had not been personally alluded to by the hon. Member for Cornwall, in a speech which he must be allowed to say, appeared to him to be most intemperate, and to contain very unfounded charges against all Orange bodies; and therefore, being aware how much the silence of a sincere Orangeman on such an occasion might be misrepresented, he implored the indulgence of the House whilst he shortly addressed them, not in defence of the Orangemen of England—for if they had erred, as had been described by the hon. Member for Cornwall, it was sufficient for him (Mr. A. Lefroy) to know and repeat, what had been already declared by his hon. Friend, the secretary of the Irish Orangemen, that they formed no 860 part of the system with which he was connected, and that the body to which he belonged were strictly of a defensive character—and bound together by the strictest ties of loyalty and Christian feeling. His object now was to express the satisfaction he felt in the conciliatory, but firm tone of his hon. Friend, the Member for Cavan; and he agreed also with him, and the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, In thinking, that the Secretary for the Home Department had proposed the Address in mild and gratifying terms, particularly as he had, in reply to the wish expressed by his hon. Friends, declared that he had not intended to cast any censure upon the Orange body by the insertion of their name, but that it was done in accordance with the proceedings of the House; at the same time he could not express any approbation of the motives that influenced the noble Lord in proposing these resolutions; he believed that he was urged beyond his own sense of justice and fairness, by a secret and dangerous power; and he was the more convinced of this by the fact of the noble Lord still persevering in resisting the powerful appeals of the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, and the Tight hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. Under such circumstances, if he were to consult his own feelings, he would not consent to the resolution; but as it appeared to his hon. Friends that more good would be effected by abstaining from a division, he would rather endure even the insult put upon him as an Orangeman, by such a majority of this House, than intercept the accomplishment of any real benefit; and from what he knew of Orangemen and their feelings, he hoped, nay, he ventured to declare, that if the House passed the resolution, and the King recommended the Orange Institution to dissolve, the Orangemen would sincerely and immediately acquiesce in the recommendation, and not adopt the example of those who had boasted they would drive a carriage through, an Act of Parliament.
Mr. Edward J. Cooper
said The had the honour of possessing the confidence generally of the county of Sligo not only amongst Orangemen and Protestants, but Roman Catholics also; and he was of 861 opinion, that if the words were allowed to remain, the mass of Orangemen in that county would think it a stain and a stigma, and that a party triumph was achieved. And though he should go the full length of recommending the Orangemen of Sligo, who had placed him at their head, to conform, to the express wish of his Majesty, he yet could not conceal from himself or the House, that the means of accomplishing this end would be considerably weakened, if the words objected to were allowed to remain in the resolution.
§ Colonel Verner
said, he should move that the words be left out, and that it was his intention to take the opinion of the House upon the question.
Colonel Verner's amendment was negatived without a division, and Lord John Russell's resolution was agreed to.