§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, that in rising to call the attention of the House to the appointment of Mr. Cecil Moore, the Grand Secretary of the Tyrone Orange Lodge, to the office of Crown prosecutor of Tyrone, and to move an Address thereon, he regretted that the late hour of the night (ten o'clock) would oblige him to shorten his observations and to omit many facts which he had intended to bring under the notice of the House. His Motion, which in his opinion was one of great practical importance, both as regarded this and the sister country, related to the Orange Confederacy, a subject which it would be remembered occupied public attention very much in the years 1835 and 1836. A Select Committee was appointed in 1836 at the instance of Mr. Finn, the Member for Kilkenny, and it ended in disclosing to the House and the public that a state of things existed highly dangerous to the welfare of the community, and of such a character as to create most just and well-founded alarm. The labours of the Committee disclosed that there existed an armed confederation bound, not by oaths, but by secret tests, having in Ireland, at a low computation, 225,000, in England 145,000, and in Scotland an unascertained number of Members—in fact, embracing the colonies and every part of the earth where an English regiment set foot, all acting under the absolute will and direction of one man—the Grand Master of the Orange Association. The object was one of a strong political character, undertaking to control the Legislature and the Executive, and cloaked under the hypocritical pretence of religion. It was further disclosed that from the birth of the Association, in 1796, to what he must now call its pretended death, in 1836, its course was marked by anarchy, systematic disregard of law, and too often by bloodshed—that it polluted the source of justice, intruded itself upon the bench, and, worst of all, ranged the inhabitants of the country, and especially of Ireland, in two hostile bands detesting each other, and rendering union 637 and amalgamation impossible. One of its most dangerous characteristics was that it embraced men of high and honourable feeling, while among the body there existed sinister and revolutionary designs, which might be carried out, and at the contemplation of which one almost shuddered. Such being the general character of the confederation, as disclosed by Mr. Finn's Committee in 1836, the subject was brought pointedly under the notice of the House by the late Mr. Hume; but Mr. Hume's Resolution was not put to the vote, because the noble Lord the Member for the City of London moved a more moderate Amendment. It had been said more than once that the position of the Orange faction at the present day was different to what it was at that time. The alleged distinction between the state of affairs then and now was that under the new constitution the members were not bound by secret oaths, and the Association was not illegal. The speech of the noble Lord, however, in 1836, which for moderation was quite worthy of his character, threw over altogether the disputed legality or illegality of the Association. The noble Lord said:—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. The moment you create such societies and organize 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.The noble Lord, having pointed out the great evils of divided allegiance, proceeded:—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.The noble Lord called attention to a letter of Lord Dunsany as to the appointment of a magistrate, and (the reply of Lord Morpeth, in which Lord Morpeth said:—His Excellency must, therefore, repeat that, unless Mr. Smith either denies his connection with 638 it, or signifies his intention of withdrawing from it, he must decline to nominate him a deputy lieutenant for the county of Meath.He proposed to show that if the organized Orange confederation of 1836 was open to objection, so was that of 1858. Sir Robert Peel took part in the debate, and his language was worthy of attention. Sir Robert Peel did not oppose the Resolution of the noble Lord, but merely suggested that the words "Orange lodge" should be left out of it. Sir Robert Peel said:—The question, alter all, was not as to the precise legality of that association. It was possible that such associations might be in strict conformity to the law, and yet that all the evils to which the hon. Member had adverted might be lasting. These evils would not be cured by making them conformable to law, because the real danger was not a breach of the law, but the encouragement and dissemination of angry feelings and the remembrance of feuds which ought to be buried in oblivion. To those who wished well to the tranquillity of Ireland he would say, they ought not to set the example of maintaining these dangerous associations.The object of the present Motion was not the suppression of the association by force. but that Her Majesty's Government should not give encouragement to what Sir R. Peel designated as "dangerous associations." The noble Lord's Amendment was carried without a division, and was in these terms:—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.The Address was answered graciously from the Throne in accordance with those terms, and he proposed to show that the present Orange Society possessed all the characteristics mentioned, which called down the condemnation of the House in 1836, and that the House now ought to be prepared to pass a Resolution in similar terms. The effect of the Resolution was that the Duke of Cumberland, the Grand Master, authorized Mr. Maxwell to make this statement to the House in February 1836:—I am directed by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland to state that, in consequence of his Majesty's wish expressed in answer to the address of the House of Commons, his Royal Highness has taken steps, in concert with all the leading Members of the Orange Society now in London, to recommend to them the dissolution of that society. And I am further directed by his Royal Highness to state that it is his intention immediately to take steps for the dissolution of 639 the Orange Society of Great Britain and the Colonies.The public believed that it was intended to carry out that pledge, but whatever might have been the intention of noblemen and gentlemen of high honour, the pledge was not, in substance, carried out by the members of the association. The dissolution was merely formal, and he held in his hand an Orange warrant, not a copy but the original warrant, of as late a date as May 19,1837, from Boyne Lodge, 485, in the district of Down, signed by the master, the deputy-master, and the secretary, and issued under the seal of the lodge. It appeared to have been issued just fifteen months after the pledge given by the Duke of Cumberland, and after the time when the public supposed that steps had been taken to dissolve once and for ever the confederation condemned by that House as dangerous to the welfare of the kingdom. Before he concluded he would snake it appear that, on this as on other occasions, the dissolution of this confederation was nominal and not real, for it was afterwards re-organized, was composed of the same members, and partook of the same character. He had before him a remarkable document; it was the original book of the Grand Orange Lodge of the county of Donegal, with the list of members and entries, commencing in 1813 and coming down to 1823. It contained a communication from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, dated 28th July, 1823, stating that at a meeting in Dublin it was resolved that, in consequence of the then Act of Parliament preventing the administration of unlawful oaths having virtually suppressed the Orange Institution, that institution was dissolved, and that all warrants issued by the Grand Lodge were cancelled and annulled. Nevertheless, on the 4th of August 1823, only a week afterwards, it was resolved at a numerous and respectable meeting of Protestant gentlemen—Colonel Blacker in the chair—that it was advisable to establish in a manner strictly conformable with the law a Loyal Orange Institution. The re-organization consisted in striking out the rules which required the taking of oaths; and that was the same society which was condemned in 1836. In 1835 there were two Committees to investigate Orangeism both in this country and in Ireland. The Committee for Ireland did not report, but laid the evidence they had received before the House. The Committee for England made a most valuable 640 Report. Of that Report he would refer to only one passage, to which he invited the attention of hon. Members, as it was not lengthy, and its details were of a most alarming character, and if they found the same confederation disturbing the Colonies at the present moment, particularly that of Canada, they would feel the importance of the inquiry. The Committee of 1835 reported that the obvious tendency and effect of the Orange Institution was to keep up an exclusive association in civil and military society, exciting one portion of the people against the other; to increase the rancour and animosity unhappily too often existing between persons of different religious persuasions; to make Protestants enemies of the Catholics, and Catholics enemies of the Protestants; to excite, by processions on particular days, to breaches of the peace; to interrupt the course of justice, and to interfere with the discipline of the army. It was on the basis of that Report that the House proceeded and concurred in the Resolution of the noble Lord. One valuable result arising from that Report they could not be deprived of, and that was the passing, in 1836, of the Constabulary Act, in which provision was made that the members of that force should take an oath to the effect that they did not and would not belong, while holding their office, to any political or secret society. That provision applied as well to the stipendiary magistrate as to the constable. He could scarcely bring forward more important evidence as to the opinion of the House that the profession of Orangeism was incompatible with the proper administration of criminal justice, and therefore he sought to apply it even to more important cases. Matters then went on, the organization of the society continuing, processions taking place, and confusion, crime, and bloodshed following on them. However, they would not have had legal evidence of the existence of the society, for its proceedings were essentially secret in character, had not Lord Enniskillen supplied it. Last year very serious riots took place at Belfast, which were a disgrace to the town and the country, and the Government sent down a Commission of Inquiry into the cause of the evil. Lord Enniskillen volunteered to appear before the Commissioners, and in spite of their protest, forced them to inquire into the Orange lodges, and insisted on laying before them the books containing the rules of the society, and a 641 record showing from year to year what were the objects of the institution. The noble Lord's allegation was, that they were acting under the opinion of an able lawyer, who stated that their proceedings were within the law, and that upon that opinion the society was reorganized. The noble Lord added that he did not seek to conceal the rules, and he accordingly produced them. He (Mr. FitzGerald) had in his hand the rules of 1845, when the society was professed to be reorganized; also the rules of 1824, after the Act against illegal oaths, and the rules of 1836. The authenticity of his copies would not be disputed, for on the title-page was the name of "James Verner, G. S.," and he was told it was in the handwriting of a respectable individual, who was Grand Secretary of the Orange Institution. He had compared the different rules together, and he defied any one to point out in what elements the rules of 1824, 1836, and 1845 differed. He would call attention to the rules laid before the Belfast Commission. A case was submitted to the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and, after giving his opinion on the law, the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland concluded with this caution:—The noble and learned Lord stated that he wished it to be understood that he did not mean to express or even insinuate an opinion as to the propriety or prudence of the course on the legality of which he was requested to advise; that popular confederacies were very perilous, because they generally became unmanageable, but that experience showed that under a free constitution circumstances might exist requiring such united vigour as they called into action. He (Mr. FitzGerald) would go further than that cautious expression of opinion, and would say that a society based on religious distinctions, acting by affiliated branches, and having secrecy as its foundation, was not only perilous, but, in bad hands, was apt to be diverted day by day to illegal and prejudicial courses. At page 271 of the rules of this Orange Society, he found them arrogating to themselves that they had been founded in support of the glorious and immortal memory of King William III., whilst in every one of their proceedings they violated the characteristics of William III. He believed that if that monarch had followed the dictates of his own mind he would have been in favour of universal toleration. He believed that this country owed to King William the free institutions which it now 642 enjoyed, and he hoped the time might come when they would all join in celebrating his memory. He (Mr. FitzGerald) had examined the records of the Orange Lodges, and he found that the members of those institutions had uniformly opposed the progress of rational liberty and reform. In fact, the political organization of the Orange confederation had been used to defeat every measure of progress. Yet the men who composed this confederation professed to maintain the principles for which King William III. contended. He found the same hypocritical pretence in the rules of 1824 and of 1836. He thought he was justified in saying that there was a hypocritical pretence when the professed object of the institution was the maintenance of the public peace, and the result of its proceedings was the disturbance of the public peace. He conceived that there was a hypocritical pretence when, in opposition to the statements made on behalf of the association, persons who entertained different political views were insulted on account of the opinions which they held. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, if hon. Gentlemen doubted his statement he would read them some passages from the last song book of the Orange Society. [Cries of "Sing!" and laughter.] The rules of the Orange Societies provided that no person who had been a Roman Catholic should be admitted into an Orange Lodge, except after producing testimonials to character by the unanimous vote of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Certain forms of prayer were prescribed to be used at the opening of the lodges, expressing humble and hearty thanks to the Almighty for the manifestation of His favour to this Protestant nation at divers times of great peril, and for that Providence which had so often interfered to defeat Popish plots and machinations. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must not suppose that he objected to their entertaining these opinions. He did not war against individuals, but he did object to confederations which were formed to carry out such extreme views as those to which he was calling attention. He was reminded, by the conduct of the supporters of these institutions, of the Resolutions adopted by the early Puritan settlers in Massachusets. They adopted these Resolutions:—first, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; "secondly, "The Lord has given the earth as an inheritance to his saints;" and, thirdly, "We are the saints." It would appear that the members of the 643 Orange Societies, also, had come to the conclusion that they were the saints, and that the earth had been delivered to them as their inheritance. One of the regulations of the Orange Societies prohibited a member from revealing any of the counsels of his brother Orangemen in lodge assembled, unless to a brother Orangeman, well knowing him to be such, or until he should be permitted to do so by proper authority. The body was, therefore, a Secret Society, and he could bring forward instances of members of this organized body having been ignominiously expelled for disclosing its secrets. There was, however, a higher order of members in the society, who were forbidden to disclose the secrets of the body even to Orangemen. What those secrets were he did not pretend to know, but it would be absurd to suppose that there were no secrets when such rigid provision was made for their keeping. He found, among other cases, that one member was expelled for theft, and several others for marrying Papists. Indeed, it appeared that Orangemen had a fancy for Papist wives, as he could mention from forty to fifty instances of expulsion on that ground. Several persons were also expelled for divulging the secrets of the institution. Since the Address of 1836 there had been a regulation that no man who was in the army or militia should be a member of a political organization, and he now sought to extend this rule to another class of Her Majesty's subjects. He had now described the character and rules of the society in 1836, and he defied hon. Members to show any substantial difference between the reorganized society and the institution as it existed in that year. He therefore called upon the House, by an expression of its opinion, to put a step to the course of this society, because much as Orangemen loved it they loved place more. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen might cry "oh, oh!" but the Grand Secretary himself said that his duties were so onerous that he could not attend to the numerous applications which were made to him to obtain places under the Government for Orangemen. What was the result of the reorganization of this society? Having had his attention called to this subject, at the close of last year, he moved for and obtained from the constabulary reports which showed that in a period of six years no less than 433 cases of offences had arisen from Orange processions. Of these 130 occurred in the county of Down, where the institution particularly flourished, and 644 whose boast it was that in 1835 it was enabled to assemble at Hillsborough up, wards of 75,000 Orangemen at one time; and whilst there were nine in the province of Leinster, none in the province of Connaught, and only one in Munster, all the rest occurred in the province of Ulster. During the last half year that he was in office he directed proceedings at the assizes for offences arising out of processions in Down, in one case in which death ensued, and in thirty-two cases of rioting. In Antrim there were several cases of riot and two of manslaughter. He had also obtained from Mr. Maxwell, the Crown Solicitor of the north-eastern circuit, a return, showing that, since 1850, fifty-five cases of a serious character had been tried at those assizes—the greater portion of these cases being tried at Quarter Sessions, ["No, no!"] From three years' experience he could assert that such was the fact. Such had been the character of this institution since 1845, and what was it before that date? He would take no doubtful evidence, nor would he cite the opinion of a single Roman Catholic, but he quoted the statements made by Lord Caledon and Lord Gosford, who said that the effect of the operations of this institution was the reverse of preserving the public peace, that magistrates and jurors sometimes neglected their duties in consequence of its influence, and, in the words of Judge Fletcher, adopted by the latter noble Lord, that the fountains of justice were polluted by it, and magistrates had in some instances violated their duty and their oaths. It further appeared that the funds of the society were systematically applied to the defence of Orangemen who had committed breaches of the law. That was a serious charge; but he was prepared to prove it. In the returns from the institution in 1836 ["Oh, oh!"]—Would hon. Members produce the accounts since that period? He could not get at them, and it was for those who supported this organization to show that it was not the same in 1858 as it was in 1836. In the accounts of the latter year he found an entry, "Defence of the brethren in Cavan, £100 2s. 9d." In another case the sum of £10 was paid for the defence of a person named Macbeth, who was charged with murdering a man with an oyster knife. A further sum was given from the funds of the county lodge for the defence of a man in Newry, and after he was convicted about £300 was collected in his behalf. The same thing 645 took place in England. On one occasion the Mayor of Liverpool had the boldness to interfere with an Orange procession. A law suit was instituted, and the Grand Lodge of England gave £200 towards defraying the expenses of the proceedings, in the course of which it was clearly proved that the parties had been guilty of an infraction of the law. The evil extended even to Scotland, where, upon an Orangeman being charged with the murder of a policeman, the Grand Lodge of England subscribed £63 for their brother in misfortune. A Dissenting minister, named Bridges, was asked to give a character to an Orangeman charged with murder. He refused to do so, and the consequence was that his chapel was attacked and he was ultimately obliged to leave the place. The Orangeman was hanged, but poor Mr. Bridges had to suffer likewise. [The CHANCELLOR of the Ex-CHEQUER: What is the date?] The case happened in 1827 [Laughter.] He saw nothing in the facts which he had stated to justify the loud laughter of the right hon. Gentleman who had assumed the leadership of that House. Did it alter the character of the Orange Society that the case of Mr. Bridges happened in 1827? Was it becoming the Chancellor of the Exchequer to laugh at the statement that a gross outrage was committed in 1827?—an outrage arising from the principles of the Orange confederation. Take another case. In 1835 a magistrate named Hancock ventured to commit twelve individuals for taking part in an illegal procession, and the result was that his house was attacked and he himself burnt in effigy by the Orangemen of the district. Such were the incidents which he found in the Report of 1836 with reference to the working of the Orange Association as far as it affected the administration of criminal justice, and they knew from the evidence of Lord Enniskillen that the organization and principles of the institution were the same now as they were in 1836. But the evil was not confined to England and Ireland. In 1836, the Duke of Cumberland gave what was called an itinerant warrant to a person of the name of Ogle Gowan, who proceeded with that authority to Canada in order to organize the Orange Society there. Gowan succeeded in effecting such organization in Canada—the Society had continued there from that time up to the present, and had got a hold upon the Legislature as well as the country of 646 Canada. In 1856, the organized body in Ireland presented an address to their brethren in Canada congratulating them upon the progress they had made. He had before him a Canadian paper giving a curious account of an occurrence that took place in Kingston, Upper Canada. It appeared that in the House of Representatives a gentleman applied for the passing of an Act prohibiting Orangemen from serving upon juries and from being appointed magistrates, observing that if the application was refused the party with which he was connected would be compelled to take certain steps for their defence. The Speaker of that House considered that the language of the gentleman was not proper; but the Attorney General declared that the language might be excused. A petition was also prepared containing the same sentiments, but it was not received from want of form. The bad character of Ogle Gowan was brought to the notice of the Duke of Cumberland; nevertheless that man was allowed to proceed on his mission, to array Catholic against Protestant, and to pollute the very sources of justice. Finding, then, that an important appointment had recently been made in Ireland of a distinguished member of the Orange Society, he felt it his duty to bring the matter under the notice of the House. He received a verbal communication yesterday that this Gentleman was not now a member of an Orange institution, but he found recorded in the return on Lord Enniskillen's Motion of 1854 the name of Mr. Cecil Moore with the initials A. D. G. S., which was to be read assistant deputy grand secretary. He found the name of Mr. J. H. Moore also in this return as deputy grand secretary. He understood that this gentleman was the brother of Mr. Cecil Moore. In 1855 Mr. Cecil Moore was advanced to the post of deputy grand secretary, while his brother in the same year was elected grand treasurer of the lodge. In 1857 Mr. Cecil Moore was elected grand secretary for the county of Tyrone. He did not intend to urge one word against Mr. Moore in his private capacity. ["Oh, oh!"] His observations were only intended to apply to him as a member of this confederation. Mr. Moore's office was that of Sessional Crown Prosecutor of the county of Tyrone. The salary was not more than £150 or £870 a year, but the duties were very important. Mr. Moore had charge of all prosecutions for the 647 Crown. Those sessions were not attended by counsel, and the criminal jurisdiction of the Courts of Quarter Sessions in Ireland was much larger than the sessions of this country. The business under his control embraced all criminal cases except such as were capital. He had control of the prosecution; he addressed the jury; and he had the power to set aside such jurors as the Attorney General could set aside were he present in person. He was in fact the representative of the Attorney General in the Court of Quarter Sessions. He would assume that Mr. Moore's pledge to this institution would not lead him to depart from his duty to the Crown; but if there were a prosecution against Orangemen, might it not excite a well-founded suspicion when the, administration of the law was in the hands of a brother Orangeman? He understood the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland to intimate on a former occasion, when this subject was mentioned, that he was not responsible for this appointment, that it had been made on the recommendation of the Members for the county, and that the Attorney General did not know that Mr. Moore was an Orangeman. He supposed that the appointment had been made on the nomination of the noble Lord (Lord Claud Hamilton), who was one of the Members of the county. Now, the noble Lord was in 1835, under circumstances of great peculiarity, decorated with emblems and publicly chaired through a town in the county of Tyrone. He received a remonstrance yesterday, stating it was true Mr. Moore had been a member of the Orange confederation, but that a document had been sent to the Attorney General which had been signed by a Catholic bishop and by several Catholic priests, in favour of Mr. Moore, because he was such a good man, and alleging that he had ceased to be a member of the Orange confederation. Now, if every Catholic bishop and priest in Ireland had signed this recommendation on the allegation that Mr. Moore had ceased to be a member of the confederation, it would not alter his position that, having regard to the character of this body, it was the bounden duty of the Government to discourage it, and not to appoint a person to a legal office who continued to be a member of such a body. He was told that it might be stated that while he filled the office of Attorney General for Ireland he appointed as sessional prosecutor a gentleman who was one of the 648 leading rebels of 1848. He supposed that something of that kind would be charged; but he should not advert to it at present further than to say that should such statement be made it would have his entire denial. The allegation was untrue, and he would, if occasion required, prove its utter untruth. He knew that his Motion would create many enemies for him in the sister country, but he cared not for that. He felt that he was discharging a duty, and from that duty he would not shrink. He found it stated in the organ of the Orange lodges, the Downshire Protestant, that five Members of the Earl of Derby's Government had been returned by the Orangemen of Ireland, and that if the Government did not oppose his (Mr. Fitz-Gerald's) Motion, no Member of that Government would be returned by the Orangemen in future. He, however, begged to call the attention of the Government to the report to which he had so frequently referred in the course of his address, which report showed that his Motion was well founded.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That in the opinion of this House the appointment to offices connected with the administration of the Criminal Law of members of the Orange Confederation, or of any other political confederation founded on principles of religious exclusion, inculcating secrecy on its members, and acting by means of delegates or representatives, and of affiliated branches, tends to create well-founded jealousy and suspicion highly detrimental to the ends of justice, and ought to be discouraged.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he shared the regret expressed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he should have been forced, no doubt by an overwhelming sense of duty, to introduce the important question which he had submitted to the House at such a moment for its consideration. Great questions awaited their decision. Several useful measures were lying on the table. The right hon. and learned Gentleman possessed abilities and knowledge, and, as the House had seen, considerable industry; but he had exhausted their time and wasted his talents, not in endeavouring to compose differences; not in endeavouring to insure peace and tranquillity to his country, but in reviving forgotten calumnies and raking up disagreeable topics for their debates. And by what arguments and facts did he do this? By stringing together shreds and passages from old newspapers, by exploded reports, and by little bits culled out from 649 one document and another, connected by no chain of argument and sustained by no force of reasoning, though he was free to admit the right hon. and learned Gentleman's eloquence was spicy and sarcastic. What was the complaint of the right hon. and learned Gentleman? Did any man in that House clearly understand him? What had happened? What had the Government of the country done which required that the attention of the House of Commons should be called to it by a speech such as that which they had just heard? What were the right hon. gentleman's facts? Why, that an honest, respectable, competent man, had in his native country been appointed to a small place worth £140 a year, for the performance of the duties attached to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman was compelled to admit he was pre-eminently qualified. He did not deny that it was the right of any hon. Member of Parliament to lay his finger on an abuse of patronage and denounce it. He had seen men in office that deserved to be hanged. He had seen criminals promoted. He had seen men on the Treasury bench who were dishonouring their country, who would have corrupted the virtue of any assembly, would have destroyed public morality, and sold the liberties of their native land. He could understand a man complaining of such persons being elevated to place and power; but to search out, in the ordinary and daily distribution of the patronage of the Government, for the case of a gentleman who had got a small place in Ireland, and to object to him on public principles, to impeach his appointment, not because he was an immoral, profligate, or ignorant and incompetent man, but because he was a member of an Orange confederation, was to trifle with the judgment of the House. Well there was always something to be learnt from a debate of this kind. Therefore let them look closely at the speech they had heard from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and see if it was possible to glean from it anything that was practical or useful. The right hon. and learned Gentleman began with events that happened before some of the Members of the House were born, and dwelt long on the history of the Orange Confederation. He began at the beginning. Macaulay had written the history of that association, and described the services it rendered in other days, and it was not necessary to be always bringing forward historic events in that House, or 650 to be reviving recollections that all good men should strive to forget. The right hon. and learned Gentleman made an attack on the Orange Association, and spoke as if the Government of the country had taken that Orange Association under its protection, and had, by some unequivocal act, declared to England, Ireland, and Scotland, that the Government was to be conducted on the principles he had described. What were his proofs? He said that in 1836 there was the report of a Committee of inquiry—and so there was—and he referred to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London—a moderate, sensible, and skilful speech, meant to induce those whom he addressed to use their influence in dissolving a society which was then considered by many good and wise men to have outlived the purposes for which it was originally intended. On that occasion many hon. Gentlemen spoke temperately and moderately, and among them Mr. O'Connell, who expressed a hope that from that day party quarrels would cease in Ireland. The Resolution which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) moved on that occasion, though he refused to omit from it the words "Orange Confederation," was levelled at all secret associations bound together by tests, by oaths, and by secret compact, and the noble Lord truly said, what no man could deny, that the very existence of such associations proved that there was something wrong in the body politic. He subscribed to that doctrine. Those who framed the happy constitution under which we lived made no provision for Corn Law Leagues, Repeal Associations, or Orange Confederations. But he must be a narrow-minded and prejudiced observer of history, who, when he had to form an opinion upon the association to which he had adverted, did not inquire into the country and the history of the times in which such an association had existed, and endeavour to ascertain why it existed, and what called it into existence. He might then determine, perhaps, that the facts had warranted the union of men in such a combination, although changed circumstances might no longer require its existence. That was the course taken in 1836. When the King, whose word, by their fundamental rule, was law to them, required them to dissolve, these loyal men did dissolve. Of all the charges that were ever brought against them, hypocrisy was never brought against them before; and he believed that 651 the right hon. and learned Gentleman would find that he would not get a single convert to the opinion that he had uttered that night, that, whatever they were, they were hypocrites. Why, there were sitting upon the benches on that (the Ministerial) side of the House many Gentlemen, honourable men, whose relatives and friends met together to dissolve that association. And it was to all intents and purposes at an end. Their books were scattered. He knew not how that book to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred came into his possession. The right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to have studied it very carefully, but the impression which his reference to it made upon his (Mr. Whiteside's) mind was, that while the right hon. and learned Gentleman was Her Majesty's Attorney General it never once flashed across his mind to call the attention of the House to it. If, as sensible men, they were asked to give an opinion upon this question which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had raised, and all the facts relating to which he had stated accurately and faithfully—he would not add in a party spirit, because that was obvious to all—must they not say that he had not given them the least hint as to the cause of the reorganization? the necessity of which no one regretted more sincerely than himself. He had this advantage over the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that in every single political trial that had occurred in Ireland for many years he had borne a part, sometimes in defending those who did not agree with him in sentiment or opinion; and he thought he understood the political history of his country. The Orange Society came to an end when Mr. O'Connell prophesied the halcyon times of peace and prosperity that were before them. All agitation was to subside. For ever thenceforward were the people of Ireland and England to be united by adamantine links of love and affection. The Protestants said, "Agreed; we believe you; act upon your convictions." What was the history of Ireland for the eight or nine years following? Let them search their Parliamentary history. Why, this association, described or misdescribed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman—he cared not which—did not exist, as any man who spoke the truth must admit. How many Motions were made by Sir Robert Peel and by eminent men in that House for Acts of Parliament levelled against secret societies, aimed against agi- 652 tation, directed against Ribandism? The statute-book and the Parliamentary debates would tell what was the state of Ireland during these eight or nine years. There had been handed to him within the last few days an account of the state of the country after the eight years' peace prophesied by O'Connell. In the autumn of the year preceding the organization of the Orange Society, ten counties of Ireland were in a state of anarchy. There were 136 homicides, 138 houses burnt, 483 houses attacked, 544 cases of aggravated assault, 551 robberies of arms, 89 cases of bands appearing in arms, more than 200 cases of administering unlawful oaths, 1,944 cases of sending threatening letters, while the general crime of Ireland had doubled in amount and enormity that of the preceding year. That was the state of the country during those eight years as to positive crime. Now came the political history. He himself could not say what it was influenced the conduct of O'Connell in this country, but he could give a candid opinion of what he believed might have been the motives that operated upon O'Connell's mind. He would not charge that extraordinary man, now in his grave, with hypocrisy. He would not charge him with dissimulation. He would not charge him with having, in the hope of gaining money from his countrymen, adopted a course of policy which he disbelieved, or with having proceeded in a career of agitation which he knew to be false, which he intended to be a mockery, and which would never, under his guidance, accomplish the wishes of those joined in it. He declined to believe that shocking calumny upon his memory. He believed that O'Connell meant to band together masses of his countrymen to wrest Ireland from British power. He believed that O'Connell thought the Government of Ireland was based upon a wrong principle. He believed that O'Connell honestly thought that, as by agitation he had been successful on many great occasions, he could collect together great masses of the general population of Ireland, and also succeed in obtaining the support of the Orangemen and Protestants generally, and that it was possible to separate Ireland from this country, to repeal the Union, and to make England a third-rate Power. That, if anything could, would have placed a republic at our door. That, he believed, was O'Connell's policy, and it was, at least, a manly policy. How did he carry 653 out that policy? He (Mr. Whiteside) was not a believer in all that was stated about the great assemblages brought together by O'Connell; but he believed that he brought together on several occasions as many as 150,000 men, He believed that his agitation was the greatest the world ever saw, and he should like to interrogate those who were the Ministers of the Crown in the year 1842 as to what they did to defeat the great monster meetings in Ireland. He should like to know what they felt to be the state of things in Ireland at that time. He admitted, and he admitted with regret, that at that time some of those men who had eight years before dissolved this confederacy, did come together again, and say, "What is the object of this great agitation? What is its purpose? We believe its object and its purpose to be to separate Ireland from England, not so much upon a religious as upon a political ground. We hold a contrary opinion. We therefore unite for the purpose of maintaining the Union, for the purpose (he admitted it) of upholding the Protestant religion, the monarchy, and British power." To show the effect of O'Connell's speeches even upon the humblest men in Ireland he might mention that he recollected walking with a clergyman, now a Bishop, from his parish church at the time of O'Connell's agitation, when he narrated to him the following fact. Mr. O'Connell made a celebrated speech about shouldering the Protestants of Ulster into the sea, or something of that kind, and to show what effect that speech had upon the minds of the humbler class of Orangemen or Protestants, that right rev. Prelate pointed to a house as they passed it and said, "I called in there a few weeks ago. I found the wife shedding tears. I asked what was the matter. She said her husband would be killed. I called him, and he came down stairs with a gun in his hand. He was polishing his gun. I said to him, 'What are you going to do with that weapon?'" And what was the answer? "Why, Sir, isn't O'Connell going to take our country? We have arranged our plans and will take our stand on a rising ground outside the village." That man spoke the sentiments of his race, and of all those who felt and thought with him. They did believe at the time that O'Connell meant and intended to do the thing he said. What happened when O'Connell visited the north of Ireland? He went to Belfast and found out 654 his error. It required an army to protect him, and he left that part of the country by sea. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that in 1843 the Orange Society was reorganized, and that at the time of O'Connell's trial they had meetings for the purpose of passing formal resolutions. But all the resolutions were passed before. And what were they, because it was right when those things were mentioned to examine fairly into the truth? Now, he had the resolutions that were carried, and what did the House think they were, for this body of men had been described by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in a manner which he did not think the facts warranted? This was the first resolution:—Resolved, That the circumstances of the time render it necessary that a closer union should be formed among all classes of Her Majesty's loyal and attached subjects in this country in order to preserve inviolate the legislative union and the principles of civil and religious liberty, and especially are combination and union necessary among all those who are ready to make common cause to uphold the religion of the Reformation.What was the second?Resolved, that in order that any union formed among us should be firmly established and productive of beneficial and lasting results, we are persuaded it must be formed on the precept of the Bible, 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for God's sake,' and therefore, taking this precept as our guide, our union must be formed in 'strict subservience to the existing law of the land.'What was the third resolution?Resolved, that inasmuch as the existing law renders the Orange institution as originally constituted illegal, we do hereby appoint a 'committee for the purpose of considering under what appellation the society shall be designated, upon what legal principles a union can be formed, and for the drawing up of rules and regulations for the conduct of such society the committee are required to take the opinion of learned men upon any matter of law that may come before the committee.Well, they submitted the rules to the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and to another most eminent man now deceased. The rules were settled by them, and he should like to know what learned counsel would undertake to frame an indictment upon such principles as were therein asserted. That was the short of the history of the reorganization of the Orange Society. What followed that? Why, it was true that events had taken place that he always contemplated with the deepest regret. Mr. S. O'Brien, a gentleman whom he defended against a State prosecution, was charged by the Government with attempting to revolutionize Ireland. It ap- 655 peared by the evidence at the trial that armed clubs were first to be formed consisting of 500 men, each man to be armed with a gun, and the attempt to overthrow the British power was not to be made until 300,000 men were enrolled. What were those gentlemen to do who had deep and enthusiastic feelings of loyalty, and what took place? It was true Lord Enniskillen was examined before the Belfast Commissioners, and the evidence given on that occasion was before the House, from which it would be seen that the witnesses declared in the most emphatic manner that from the time the Orange Confederation was re-organized its members had no test, no oath, and no secrecy. One of their rules was that their meetings should be always open to the officers of justice, especially to the police, and it was proved that the police sometimes dropped in upon them, but never found anything amiss. It was on those principles that the confederation was re-organized, and on no other. But what took place? He spoke of the time when a great outbreak was apprehended in Dublin. It was a fact that Lord Enniskillen went to the Castle and, stating his belief that there was likely to be a fighting business, proposed that the Government should give arms or money to a given number of Orangemen, who would be ready to fight, as he (Mr. Whiteside) believed they had always been. Lord Enniskillen did not see the Lord Lieutenant, but he saw his Master of the Horse, Major Turner, by whom £600 was placed at his disposal, and that was transferred to Birmingham for the purchase of arms. The Government itself, through Colonel Browne, put the arms into the hands of those men—the members of what was now called an illegal and unconstitutional society—not to use them against Her Majesty—God forbid!—but in defence of their fellow-countrymen and themselves. That was the end of the transaction; the whole thing was done before the public eye; and if the right hon. and learned Gentleman had sat down to confer with his friends as to what was the best mode of preventing the very object he said he had in view—of inflaming feelings that ought to be buried in oblivion—and of exciting stale animosities, he and they could not have more effectually attained their end than by a Motion like the present, and by imputations such as he had cast on, it might be, extreme politicians, but still honest and honourable men. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had given 656 a description or rather a mis-description of the province of Ulster. He (Mr. Whiteside) himself came from that province, and he begged to assure the House that it was a flourishing, peaceful, and happy community. He could also distinctly state that the crime of that province for the approaching Assizes, especially in the county of Tyrone, was such as would bear a favourable comparison with that of any community similar in point of numbers in any part of the civilized world. His belief was that there was not now in that county crime sufficient to occupy the Judges more than three-quarters of a day; and Orangemen, so far from being implicated in crime, were now everywhere to be found pursuing their lawful occupations. They were to be found in their fields and at their looms. What man had they ever assassinated from behind a bush, or shot down on his way to his wife and family? Now take the case of Belfast. There was some rioting there the other day; but how did the noble Lord at the head of the Government in Ireland deal with that? That was a question the House had a right to ask. He sent down by railway 200 of the constabulary, who dropped in the midst of the rioters and captured the ringleaders, who were taken before the magistrates and promptly dealt with. An application was made to admit them to bail, Nit it was refused. The gaol happened to be empty, so that there was every convenience for their reception in that quarter; they were committed for three months on the spot; the rest of the community had since been as mute as mice, and he would venture to say there would be no more riots in Belfast for some time to come, if ever. That was the history of the riot of this year, but what was that of the riot of last year? The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who was then in office, and the Irish Government did not then have recourse to the simple and effective means of putting the rioters in gaol. He (Mr. Whiteside) never heard of anything more ridiculous than the way in which that riot originated. It appeared that the 12th of July, 1856, passed over with profound tranquillity. On the 12th of July, 1857, what did the Orangemen in Belfast do? Why, they went to church. And it was said in the blue book that some of the old school after they had entered the church put an Orange riband into their button-holes, and at the conclusion of the service a young Roman Catholic, who was passing, asked another youth, who was leaving the church, 657 what he would take for his badge. The Orange youth replied half-a-crown; a bargain was struck; the Roman Catholic transferred the emblem to his button-hole, and making his way into the town along with the congregation, cried out at the top of his voice, "To hell with the Pope!" The Roman Catholics turned out in defence of his Holiness, and so the riot began and continued for several days until it merged in what was called open-air preaching. It was a practice in that part of the country to preach in the open air. He did not say that he would himself preach in the open air—certainly not in the neighbourhood of Rundsditch, where they expounded the doctrines of the Roman Catholics. But it seemed the Methodists and the Presbyterians had been in the habit of doing that, and the Roman Catholics did not like it. He agreed that though the Roman Catholics were a small portion of the inhabitants of Belfast, still the feeling of the minority should be respected. Nevertheless it was legal to preach out of doors, and those who did not like to hear the preaching might stay away. The Roman Catholics were determined that no one should preach in the open air unless they preached their doctrines, and the Methodists and Presbyterians would not yield the point because they were living in a Protestant country. The contest continued from time to time till the strong arm of the law put an end to the riots. Still the province of Ulster was prosperous, and he was happy to say that in Ulster, inhabited, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman would wish the House to believe, by such wicked people, landed property realized five years' purchase more than it did in any other part of the country, and he could not help adding that Motions like the present were calculated to excite feelings which it would be better to keep at rest. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, however, thinking no doubt that England was too narrow a field, that Ireland was too narrow a field, for the display of his senatorial eloquence, had gone to Canada. He had said that Canada was all Orange. Well, how could he help that? And even if he could, he did not think that when a colony had shown the energy, industry, and perseverance of that country, its being Orange was any very great objection. When the right hon. and learned Member had finished his discursive oration, what was the grievance he had? Why, the recent appointment of the grand secretary of the Tyrone lodge, Mr. Cecil Moore, 658 to the office of Sessional Crown Prosecutor for the county of Tyrone. He had ventured to say that though the gentlemen who recommended Mr. Cecil Moore at first might be competent to give an opinion as to a man's moral character, they were not competent to speak as to his professional character, and therefore that he must have competent opinions on that point. Accordingly he had asked the assistant barrister his opinion of Mr. Cecil Moore, and he replied that in the court of which he was Judge, Mr. Cecil Moore had practised as an attorney, and that he considered him very competent, and of a highly respectable character. He made other inquiries, and found that Mr. Cecil Moore had been sub-sheriff of three counties, and had practised in many elections and given satisfaction, even to his opponents. Moreover, when the last Sessional Prosecutor in that district, Mr. Holmes, was obliged from illness to appoint a deputy, whom did he appoint? Why, the most able, the most experienced, and the most competent man he could find—and who was that? Why, Mr. Cecil Moore. That was during the time of the late Government. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had rightly surmised that he had got some document with reference to this gentleman. He had it in his hand. It was signed by a great many gentlemen, and, strange to say, by several most respectable Roman Catholic priests, who disowned the present Motion. And here he had to remark, that there had been manifested lately in Ireland—more particularly since the present Government came into power—a remarkable anxiety on the part of the priesthood to terminate all disputes and agitation—a wise wish on their part, and one which he could undertake to say would be fully reciprocated by the Government. This document was signed by 13 deputy lieutenants, 40 magistrates, 7 Presbyterian clergymen, 2 Methodists, and 4 priests, and it expressed their opinion that it would be difficult to select a gentleman better fitted fur the position of Sessional Crown Prosecutor than was Mr. Cecil Moore, and that it would be impossible to make an appointment which would be less likely to create jealousy among any portion of Her Majesty's subjects. And yet the right hon. Gentleman had censured him for venturing to appoint a Protestant to a moderate office in his own county, to an office for which, by the testimony of all, he was most singularly qualified. Even the disappointed candidates for the situa- 659 tion had come forward to bear testimony that a more respectable, honest, competent man than Mr. Moore it would be impossible to find. The right hon. Gentleman said that Mr. Moore might be a respectable man, but that he had held office in the Loyal Orange Association. Now, he was not at all aware that Mr. Moore was an Orangeman at the time he appointed him. Neither was he aware that that gentleman filled a high office in that body. What was the fact? Not from place-seeking—for gentlemen belonging to that body had been for years excluded from all offices, a matter hardly to be regretted, as it tended to make them more independent—but from other reasons, Mr. Cecil Moore had ceased to hold any office in that body. Therefore the Resolution affirmed what was not true. For a year and a half he had ceased even to attend the social meetings of that body. For some months Mr. Cecil Moore had withdrawn from all political affairs, having lost a dear relative at the siege of Delhi. He (Mr. Whiteside) was now called upon to inquire at what time that gentleman had uttered sentiments or done acts which disentitled him to hold office in his native country. Had the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite ever heard of Oliver Cromwell, who, when a man, a lawyer, upon being invited to take office, told him he could not conscientiously take the oaths to his Highness, replied that it was not oaths but services that were required? So he (Mr. Whiteside) said that it would be illiberal, mistaken, and unjust in any Government to reject the services of any man, whether Radical, Repealer, or Conservative, provided be possessed abilities for the office to which he aspired. Upon the principle propounded by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, the services of the Lawrences, of Nicholson, and other great men might be repudiated. He never himself asked what were the politics of any man he appointed to any office. He believed out of twenty attorneys in that particular part of Ireland to which their attention was now directed, nineteen were Protestants; and was it unnatural that one gentleman of the latter religion should be appointed? Of late years many gentlemen who were Repeaters and something more had been appointed to various offices, but he had never complained. In his own county, the Crown Solicitor was a Roman Catholic, and he had no fault to find with him. In the next county, Londonderry, a relative of the right 660 hon. and learned Gentleman had been appointed Crown Solicitor, and a more respectable, practical, faithful man could not have been selected for the office. He bad made but one Protestant appointment, and for that he was to be impeached. He found that out of thirty-four officers of the particular description to which reference was made, twenty-two or twenty-four were filled by gentlemen of the Roman Catholic religion. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to an instance of another appointment which he (Mr. Whiteside) had been surprised to hear alluded to, as that very gentleman, now filling the office of Sessional Crown Prosecutor, was at the period of some lamentable agitation stopped by the police with a pike in his possession, and was compelled to surrender himself. It was the fact; but he should not mention names, as it would not be fair to do so, for if all young Irelanders returned to their native country and there pursued their legitimate avocations, and in so doing attained to positions of importance and profit, he should never think of reminding them of their connection with a ridiculous and abortive agitation. He regarded the Motion now made as a revival of the very worst kind of persecution. It was an impeachment founded upon nothing, which was condemned by the Protestant and repudiated by the Catholic. He wished to add one more fact, which was that the gentleman in question, after what had passed, had felt it to be his duty to forward to him the resignation of the office which he had held. He (Mr. Whiteside) however would not be guilty of the meanness of expelling a gentleman from an office for which he was perfectly competent, solely on the ground of his having once belonged to that association, and he put it to the generosity and the sense of justice of the House whether he merited impeachment for having abstained from doing so? He believed if this matter had been left untouched the operation of the great events that had occurred in Ireland of late years would have gone on, and it was not impossible that the Orange Association might, perhaps, have been dissolved. In many counties he was informed that there had been no meetings for three or four years. Was it politic—was it conciliatory or just upon such a pretence, to bring forward such a Motion. He believed now there; was a chance of seeing the people of Ireland living together in peace and harmony, 661 and as a patriot and a Christian he desired to see that state of things, to see his countrymen united and happy, contented and free, casting from them the rags of their ancient vices, and pressing onward with the noble ambition of becoming a wise, peaceful, and wealthy nation.
§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, he rose to make a personal statement. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that when Mr. Holmes, the Sessional Prosecutor, was ill, Mr. Cecil Moore acted as his deputy with his (Mr. Fitz Gerald's) sanction. That was his statement or nothing. That statement was utterly without foundation. He had never heard of the illness of Mr. Holmes or of Mr. Moore's name till his appointment by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He would ask, had Mr. Cecil Moore ceased to be a Member of the Orange Confederation? He might, perhaps, have resigned the secretaryship, not having time to devote to the duties of that office. But that was not the question. The question was, whether he belonged to the Orange Confederation? If the right hon. and learned Gentleman had informed him that Mr. Moore had ceased to belong to the confederation, even at the last moment before his appointment to the office he held under the Crown, he (Mr. FitzGerald) would never have brought forward the Resolution; and if lie would now give that assurance, he would ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ MR. CHICESTER FORTESCUE
said, that the person to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland had alluded as having been appointed by his right hon. Friend below him (Mr. J. D. FitzGerald) to the office of Sessional Crown Prosecutor, far from being connected with a secret society, was as loyal and moderate in his opinions as anybody who could have been selected for that office.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, it was impossible that the debate in which the House was engaged should be brought to a close without coming to the conclusion that it was most desirable that those feelings of animosity connected with a state of things which they must all hope had passed away for ever should not again be revived. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had stated in the course of his observations that Mr. Cecil Moore had resigned the office which had made him a prominent member of the Orange Association; and if 662 he understood the remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman correctly, they tended to convey the impression that the influence of the Government would be exerted for the purpose of inducing those who were members of such associations as that to which he had referred, to refrain, as far as possible, from perpetuating their existence. If that were so, the discussion which had been raised might be regarded as being productive of considerable advantage, and he should therefore wish that no division should be taken on the present occasion, which might afford an additional record of those differences of opinion which they must all concur in hoping had passed by for ever. From the observations which had been made in the course of the discussion it would appear that there was a prospect that greater harmony would prevail in future in Ireland among the various classes of its inhabitants than had hitherto been the case; and, under these circumstances, he should deem it more consistent with the future interests of that country that the Motion should not be pressed to a division.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he could not refrain from observing that the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, altogether independent of the ability by which his speech had been characterized, derived a great advantage from the circumstance that he had been listened to with perfect silence by hon. Members on his (Lord J. Russell's) side of the House. With respect to the particular subject under discussion, he would only say that it appeared to him to involve a great deal more than the mere personal question of the appointment of Mr. C. Moore. So far as that gentleman was concerned, he thought it but right to state that having heard the explanation of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite with regard to his appointment, he thought he was perfectly right in not accepting his resignation. But setting aside that individual case, he was of opinion that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department ought to feel considerable concern with respect to the general question involved in the discussion. In support of his views he might be permitted to remind the House of what had taken place in 1836. There had been in the previous year an inquiry which had justified the late Mr. Hume in instituting proceedings against the Orange Society. He (Lord J. Russell) had upon 663 that occasion endeavoured to interpose, and he had been fortunate enough to persuade the present Earl of Derby—then Lord Stanley—the late Sir R. Peel, and Mr. O'Connell to concur in one general Resolution against secret societies. Mr. O'Connell had been quite prepared to agree to that Resolution provided only the words "Orange Societies" were introduced; and there were few occasions to which he (Lord J. Russell) looked back with greater satisfaction than that to which he referred, because as a general rule he considered that Societies, whether composed of Protestants or Roman Catholics, having secret signs among themselves, bound to secrecy, and having affiliated branches in connection with them, were calculated to disturb the peace of the country and to give rise to rival societies, which were likely to produce a similar effect. He would ask the House, therefore, and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary especially, whether it was now desirable to overturn and repudiate the Resolution which had been agreed to in the manner he had described? Were they prepared to say, whether as regarded Protestants or Roman Catholics, that it was expedient to encourage and to appoint to office men who belonged to an exclusive religious society, with affiliated branches? Because if they passed a simple negative of this Resolution he conceived that such would be the effect of their decision. He would not say how they might escape that difficulty, but it appeared to him that it would be more advisable if they were to adopt some plan by which a decision might be avoided. It was the interest of every Government that such societies should not exist. Though they might have been justified in the first instance—though they might have been called into life by some emergency, in which, under the expectation of rebellion, loyal men united to defend the Crown at a period of danger, when that necessity had passed over it was most inadvisable that they should be any longer continued in a state of activity. To persecute them would of course be unwise, but every Member of the House and of the Government must wish to see the animosities which had prevailed in Ireland gradually decline, and men of different religious persuasions living in union and charity with each other. He had heard from the Attorney General for Ireland a desire that these societies should not exist; but he regretted that he had 664 not heard from him that it was the policy of the Government to discourage them.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he agreed with the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) that it was the duty of every Government to discourage political societies in Ireland, whether secret or open; and he thought the best way to attain that end was to discourage such Motions as the present. This Resolution recalled the early days during which he sat in Parliament, when unfortunately the chief staple of political controversy consisted of Motions of this description. He had believed that those times were happily forgotten, and had anticipated that such Motions would not again be revived. But he had been greatly disappointed. And when the noble Lord, after the answer made by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, rose in a spirit of admonition and warning, and called upon his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to declare whether it was the policy of Her Majesty's Government to act contrary to the Resolution of that House with respect to Orange and secret societies passed in 1836, he must be allowed to say that there was nothing in what had been stated by the right hon. Mover of this Resolution, or in the reply of the Attorney General for Ireland, which at all justified such language on the part of the noble Lord. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who made the Motion had entirely failed to establish his case. He ought not to have revived such unhappy causes of dissension without having duly inquired into all the circumstances. He trusted that the manner in which the right hon. Mover's remarks had been received, and the observations with which they had been met by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, in which he himself entirely sympathized and concurred, would offer no encouragement for the introduction of similar Motions in future. He hoped that the policy which Her Majesty's Government would pursue towards Ireland would be in perfect harmony with the changed circumstances of that country. And when Motions were brought forward or allusions made such as they had listened to that night, which were really adapted to a state of things very different from that which happily now prevailed in Ireland, and which referred to habits and circumstances now fortunately obsolete, he could only say on the part of 665 Her Majesty's Government, that their course would be in conformity with the newer and happier aspect of affairs now visible in the sister kingdom—that the policy they would adopt would be the policy which he trusted would always be pursued by those who sat on those benches, from whatever side of the House they might be recruited—namely, a policy just, generous, and conciliatory, which would not acknowledge any difference of creed or of party save that which was expressed in a fair and constitutional manner, and that the whole tenor of their conduct would be such as would not justify the repetition of Motions like the one now before them. He knew not what was the intention of the right hon. Mover in regard to his own Resolutions, but after what had occurred, though the House might not be called upon to divide, he certainly could not consent on the part of the Government to the withdrawal of this Motion.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, that he had thought the Question was intended to be confined to the Motion; and if so, he should have voted for it. But it seemed that it was meant as a distinct censure on a particular act. Therefore, because he was sure, from the form and wording of it, that it was meant to pass a direct censure on the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside), he could not vote for it, for the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was a complete vindication of himself; and, believing that, he could not vote for the Motion.
§ MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, that after what had fallen from the noble Lord, he felt that he ought not to press the Motion to a division.
§ Question put and negatived.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.