HL Deb 24 April 1845 vol 79 cc1238-40
The Marquess of Normanby

observed, that he believed information had now been received by Government with respect to his complaint against a constabulary officer, who had joined in drinking a party toast at the dinner given by the High Sheriff and Grand Jury of Armagh after the last assizes.

Lord Stanley

had inquired into the circumstances, and found that the constabulary officers were invited to the dinner, and three of them attended, one of them in his uniform; and, after many other toasts, it was proposed to drink "The glorious, pious, and immortal Memory." A member of the Grand Jury immediately stated that he should not make any objection to it, but hoped it was not put forward in any party or political sense. The High Sheriff replied that he gave it as a usual toast, and begged that no party or political feeling might be supposed to be involved. The officers were taken by surprise, and two of them remained sealed and did not drink the toast, but the other rose with the rest of the company, and both drank the toast and cheered. The Lord Lieutenant had thought fit to mark his sense of the extreme imprudence of this (to say the least), by directing that officer's removal to another district. The officer had been ten years in the force, and upon the announcement of an intention to remove him, a representation was made from the Roman Catholic clergyman of Armagh and his curate, with several of the Roman Catholic inhabitants, expressing their entire approval of his general conduct, and their conviction that he had never manifested party feeling in the execution of his duty. Gentlemen who invited constabulary officers to a dinner, where they could not anticipate the toasts likely to be proposed, should remember the extreme embarrassment to which they were exposed by being placed in the position, at the spur of the moment, of either signifying a very marked dissent from the feelings of the company at large, or departing from their instructions, and being liable to the censure of the Government. The Sheriff had since expressed his regret that any act of his should have placed this gentleman in so invidious a position; and it was allowed by all (Colonel M'Gregor in particular), that this officer was a very valuable and useful member of the force.

The Marquess of Normanby

expressed himself satisfied, and added, that he believed this was an appointment of his own; at all events, he knew the gentleman to be a deserving officer, and had no doubt he was led away by the weight of authority surrounding him. The name of the Rev. Mr. Henry., the Presbyterian minister, was to be added to the testimonials to his general good conduct.