I assure you, my Lords, that often as I have trespassed before upon your attention, and often as I have been received by you with much kindness and indulgence, I never had greater need of your kindness and indulgence than now, when I am about to bring before you matters of great importance in themselves, as affecting not only the character, but also the private conduct, of two individuals 887 of high and responsible station, both Members of your Lordships' House, and both, I rejoice to say it, present in their places, but of greater importance still as affecting the due administration of justice, the position and independence of the magistracy, and the relations in which they ought to stand, and have been placed, by the Executive Government of Ireland. In the observations which I shall have to address to your Lordships, it will be my duty to impugn the public conduct of my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. I do not wish to cast any imputation upon his motives. I am fully satisfied that on this occasion, as on every other in the period during which he has been in his high office, his main desire has been to act in a manner consistent with his duty to himself, and conducive to the welfare and tranquillity of Ireland. I believe, my Lords, that he has taken the steps which I am about to condemn with great reluctance and much personal pain to himself; and therefore, whilst I do not impugn his motives, I must be permitted to impugn the discretion he has exercised, and to denounce his proceedings both as erroneous and unconstitutional. I must also impugn the conduct of Gentlemen who were appointed to act in a capacity—judicial shall I say, or magisterial?—for their functions partook of both characters, and yet belonged strictly to neither. I must also impugn the conduct of the learned Commissioner who was sent by my noble Friend the Earl of Clarendon to examine into the proceedings which will form the subject-matter of this discussion; and I must likewise impugn the conduct of a high officer of State, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who permitted his responsible yet independent office to be degraded into a merely ministerial one. having thereby abrogated the duty imposed on him by the constitution—I mean the duty of directing and controlling, if not of protecting and defending, the magistracy of which he is the acknowledged head. My Lords, in bringing this case before you, I shall have to struggle against those feelings of impatience by which you cannot fail to be animated whilst listening to details and citations of evidence which I must necessarily lay before you in order to bring it fully and fairly under your notice. I feel that I shall also have to labour against prepossessions, natural to many minds, whilst I complain of the periodical and mischievous demonstrations or processions of one or other of the parties who have so 888 long distracted Ireland—demonstrations or proceedings which are indulged in once or twice a year, and which have a tendency to unsettle the minds of all classes of men in that country, to renew religious and political animosities, and to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the country, and which sometimes terminate even in the loss of life itself. In the aversion which I entertain to these processions, I know that my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Roden) participates almost as strongly as I do, for during a long period he has wished them to be abandoned, and has even used his influence to stop them. Of my own sincerity in this respect I can give you no stronger proof than this—that having been charged with the management of the affairs of Ireland, under the Lord Lieutenancy of my noble Friend the Master of the Ordnance (the Marquess of Anglesey), I was the individual Minister to bring in the Processions Act, which from the year 1832 to the year 1844, when it expired, removed all doubts as to their illegality, and which, as I believe, not only prevented the occurrence of any disturbances, but also contributed mainly to mitigate that rancorous feeling of political and religious animosity which the constant excitement of these processions generated and increased. Under such circumstances, my Lords, I hope that I shall not be considered as entertaining an undue bias in favour of the Orange processions or of the Orange party. I give due credit to the good qualities which I believe that population to possess. I believe the members of it to form a loyal, industrious, brave, energetic, and religious population. I do not mean to say that there are not among them, as among all bodies, some men with whom religion and loyalty are not really implanted in their heart and in their conduct, but who use loyalty and religion as mere party passwords, under which they shroud party animosity and political virulence; yet, though some such may find a place in their ranks, I do not believe that such a character belongs to them generally; on the contrary, I believe that as a body they possess the good qualities for which I have given them credit; and of this I am sure, that if any enemy, foreign or domestic, threatens the dignity of the Crown of England, on them, individually or collectively, the Crown may repose with the fullest trust and confidence. But I am far from denying that the benefits to be derived from their good qualities, 889 from their loyalty, from their industry, from their bravery, from their energy, and from their religion, are not sometimes neutralised by that organisation which prevails among them, and by their demonstrations and processions, which tend, as I have before said, to perpetuate religious differences which it would be well to extinguish, and to keep alive feelings of party animosity which it is very desirable to put down. It is with these general views that I shall now proceed to the consideration of the particular details of the case now before the House. These must now be familiar to all your Lordships; yet, so necessary are they to my argument, that I will crave your attention whilst I rapidly run over the particular facts to which I am desirous of calling the attention of your Lordships. Previously to the 12th of July last, it was well known that on that day a great demonstration of the Orange body in the province of Ulster would take place. That there was to be a large procession—that many members had declared their intention of coming, according to their custom, armed—that they were to march with the banners of their respective lodges, with bands of music, and with all the usual pomp and circumstance of such processions. Due notice of this intention was given to Her Majesty's Government; and the Government thus had an opportunity to take, and did actually take measures, to meet the exigency of which it was apprised, and to secure the maintenance of the public peace, in case it were threatened. In pursuance of its plans, the Government sent down two stipendiary magistrates and two troops of cavalry, with some infantry, to the neighbourhood of Ballyward, from which place the Orange procession was to move first by what was known as the Pass of Dolly's Brae, and then to Castlewellan, and thence to Tollymore-park, the seat of my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Roden), where preparations had been made for their reception. If you will look my Lords, at page 44 of the printed papers now on your table, you will find a map of the country between Magheramayo-hill and Dolly's Brae. Shortly before reaching the hill of Magheramayo, the road separates into two branches. One, the old road, goes along the high ground to Castlewellan, and, leaving the hill of Magheramayo on the right, reaches to the top of the ridge called Dolly's Brae, where it narrows into a kind of defile, in which, 890 according to the evidence now before you, an inconsiderable force might stop a force of 700 or 800 men. The new road keeps the level ground, runs round the base of Magheramayo and the other hills, and after a detour of about half a mile, finally joins the old road, which traverses the ridge of Dolly's Brae. Threats had been held out by the other party that no Orange procession would be allowed to pass over Dolly's Brae, and, with a view of preventing any collision on that point, a small body of troops occupied the position of Dolly's Brae early on the morning of the 12th of July. And that body of troops was not there a minute too soon, for soon after there appeared marching towards it an irregular array of men armed with scythes, muskets, and pikes, with a view of occupying that position. They found themselves, however, disappointed; and, after a short consultation among themselves, marched off and encamped on a little ridge in the vicinity, to the left of the road, from which they commanded the road from Ballyward. The Orange procession, which came from Ballyward, was escorted by the police and the military, who marched in their front. It was accompanied by a large number of their women and children, who came out to make holiday, and thus gave to the whole proceeding the air of a great festival. The procession passed by its antagonists in good order. Directions had been given to those who composed it not to fire a shot, even in sport; and those directions, as well as others requiring them to keep the line of procession, had been strictly adhered to. Although some insults were offered to the procession, by some individuals in the crowd, on its line of march, owing to the exertions of the magistracy, of the police and military, and, I must also in justice add, to those of two Roman Catholic priests (Messrs. Morgan and Mooney), it passed Dolly's Brae without any injury, or blow, or shot, from either side. The question then arose, whether, as the procession had passed Dolly's Brae without interruption, it should return back from Tollymore-park by the same road. That question was left in doubt when they first passed Dolly's Brae, and it was not known by which road they would return until they arrived, after leaving Tollymore-park, at the point where the two roads again diverge at Dolly's Brae. Some curious scenes had taken place in the interim. The cavalry, not 891 having brought forage for their horses With them, were obliged to remove from the ground to procure it, and did not return in time to head the procession, as they had done during its advance. The police and the infantry, however, were on the ground. The other body—I scarcely know what name I ought to give them—maintained its first position during a great part of the day. They were visited in the course of it by two Roman Catholic clergymen; and one of those gentlemen, Mr. Morgan, unwisely as I think, but as he himself declares for the purpose of preventing them from straggling away and getting into the public-houses, bought them a quantity of bread. He also gave his blessing to the crowd, on condition that they would clear away out of the valley and keep the peace. But about an hour afterwards, when it was still uncertain which road the procession would take on its return, a very curious manœuvre was practised by those whom I may be permitted to style the Ribandmen. I have already observed that the hill of Magheramayo lies a little obliquely from the highroad, and commands both the roads which lead to and from Dolly's Brae. The body of Ribandmen had first encamped near Dolly's Brae, but on the other side of the old road from that which they subsequently occupied, and to which they marched in something like military order and precision—indeed, so much like it, that one of the military officers present declared at the time that they must be under the command of an old pensioner, and it subsequently turned out that they were led by a person who had been discharged from the police force. They thus left the position where they had been under the control of the military, and took up a new position on Magheremayo-hill, which commands, as I before said, both roads, the new road being about a mile longer than the old. The procession, after it had received some refreshments from my noble Friend near me in Tollymore-park, and after it had been addressed by my noble Friend in a speech with which I think my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) can find no fault, returned by the same road which it had taken in the morning. They had nearly all got through the pass of Dolly's Brae. Mr. Morgan, the Roman Catholic clergyman, had promised to march with the procession on its return, in order to afford it his protection. Mr. Morgan did not attend according to his promise, but 892 his curate, Mr. Mooney, did; and never left the procession until nearly the whole of it had passed the lines of Ribandmen. These lines were twofold, ranging one a little above the other, a little obliquely to the road, and commanding it from a considerable height. The immediate front of each line was protected by a strong wall, and these were flanked by two or three small houses, and their enclosures were occupied by detachments from the main body. After the Orange party had nearly passed these lines, and just after Mr. Mooney had met the police and military, whom he told "that all was right—that there would be peace, and that not a shot would be fired," a squib was exploded at a little distance from the road, then, from the Riband houses or the enclosures before them, two shots were fired, and then immediately followed a full volley from the whole Riband army on the Orangemen, the police, and the military. The main part of the volley was poured upon the police. The police, at first a little startled by the suddenness of the discharge, recovered themselves with a degree of firmness and forbearance for which they deserve every credit; and immediately afterwards, owing to the gallantry of Mr. Hill, sub-inspector of police, they charged up the hill, and, though their numbers did not exceed 40 men, drove from it the Ribandmen, who were 600 or 700 strong. I feel, my Lords, that I cannot do sufficient justice to the spirit and gallantry which the police displayed on this occasion; it was of great importance, for one of the military officers present declared that, if the police had not fired and charged at once up the hill, Her Majesty's troops would have been slaughtered most unmercifully. He also stated, that the police would have been foiled by the strength of the position and by the number of their oppouents, had not the Orangemen, who had not yet passed the hill, taken the Ribandmen in the flank, whilst the police attacked them in the front, and aided them in dispersing the rebel band. I call them the rebel band, and I can now call them nothing else, since I think with Lieutenant Terry, of the 9th Regiment, that they deserve to be called rebels who fire on Her Majesty's troops. Then occurred scenes which I regret to say I must concur with the Commissioner appointed by my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) in denouncing as scenes of atrocity on the part of the Orangemen, although 893 I think that he has painted them in somewhat exaggerated colours, and in some cases misrepresented the real facts. I am sure, however, that if the perpetrators of them can he discovered, my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Roden) will be as ready as any man can be to bring them to justice and punishment. Houses were fired, one inoffensive person was put to death, and the work of retaliation and retribution was carried further than I can either palliate or justify. Such is the history of these-painful transactions. Shortly afterwards my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland appointed a commission to investigate their nature and extent. It sat for four or five days in the months of July and August, and then, on the 18th of September, Mr. Berwick was desired to interfere. The sessions were then held at Castlewellan, and applications were made to the magistrates on the bench for informations against several Orangemen. Those applications were refused by the bench, of which my noble Friend near me was then the chairman. Whereupon my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland recommended the Lord Chancellor of that country to dismiss from the commission of the peace my noble Friend near me, the chairman of the bench of magistrates, and two other magistrates of the name of Beers. I think, that upon the evidence there may be a primâ facie case for the dismissal of Mr. William Beers; but, so far as I can make out, the charge which my noble Friend has brought against Mr. Francis Beers is not tenable even for a moment. I must decline to enter upon this occasion into the individual case of Mr. W. Beers; but, as far as I can make out the charge against his brother, Mr. F. Beers, it is this, and this only—that the procession was mustered in his demesne, and that he marched along with it on the public road, in his character as a magistrate, without badges or distinctive marks upon him, and in company with the stipendiary magistrate sent down by Her Majesty's Government as the head of the police. Now, it is admitted on all hands that, both in going to and in returning from Tollymore-park, Mr. Francis Beers was most active in preventing a collision between the parties, and that after the collision had taken place, he was most active in saving life, and restoring peace. You have one of the witnesses actually declaring that he should have been deprived of life had he not been saved by the interference 894 of Mr. Francis Beers. No other charge can be brought against that gentleman but this—that on arriving at Tollymore-park, where none but Orangemen were met together, he did put on and wear during his presence there an Orange riband, though he had not attended an Orange lodge for twenty-four years previously. Before he left Tollymore-park he took it off again, and never appeared with it at all in public. This is the only offence charged against Mr. Francis Beers. The offence charged against my noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) is, that he received an Orange procession in his park; that he made an address to them; that he did not recommend them to return by the new road; and that, as chairman of the bench of magistrates at Castlewellan, he refused, upon application, to receive informations tendered by the sessional Crown solicitor against certain persons, not for perpetrating acts of violence, but for attending a procession, said to be per se and ab initio altogether illegal. My answer is this—I admit the facts to be as I have stated them; but I contend that they form no justification for the conduct of Government towards him. Neither the magistrates of the county nor the stipendiary magistrates sent down to their assistance, believed, or professed to believe, that the procession was illegal, or that it was considered so by Her Majesty's Government. I am prepared to contend, that up to the moment when my noble Friend received the procession in his park, he believed that it was acting under the sanction and protection of Government, especially as it was attended by an escort of military and police. There is another point which is still more doubtful than the legality of the procession, and that is the legality of the warrant which my noble Friend opposite was advised to issue, and of the whole proceedings carried on by the Commissioner under its authority. Now, I am prepared to contend that the evidence laid before my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by his commissioner, Mr. Berwick, was not the evidence really given before him. I contend, and shall endeavour to prove, that that evidence was garbled. I have the confession of the Commissioner himself, that he did not furnish my noble Friend with the whole of the evidence, but only with notes of the evidence taken by himself, and which he believed to contain all that was material in it. Now, I say that those notes do not contain all the material evidence; and further, I say that 895 they are garbled and distorted, and I am not saying too much when I say, that in one case they are actually falsified. And I further say, that the evidence laid before the magistrates did not justify the allegations of the information, and that in the discharge of their duty the magistrates could not but refuse to grant informations upon them. I say deliberately that the evidence did not warrant, and would not have justified, the informations which this bench of magistrates was called on to grant. I further contend, that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland has egregiously failed in the discharge of his functions as head of the magistracy in that country, inasmuch as on the same day on which he received the suggestion of the Lord Lieutenant to dismiss these magistrates from the commission of the peace, without evidence, without any consideration, without any remonstrance, he did—what? Call on the magistrates to answer the charges preferred against them? No; but without a question on his part, without an answer on theirs, without any examination, on evidence taken behind their backs, without any exercise of his own judgment, he dismissed my noble Friend from the commission of the peace, and with him two other magistrates, one of whom had held it for more than forty years. I say, that those magistrates had no reason to believe that this procession was in itself illegal. If the noble Earl near me had known that it was illegal, he would have been the last man in the country to lend his sanction to it. I have evidence by which I can show to your Lordships the course actually taken by my noble Friend near me, when there was no doubt that these processions were illegal. On the 21st of June, 1843, my noble Friend wrote the following letter to the Members of an Orange lodge:—My dear Friends and Brother Protestants—The anniversaries of the 1st and 12th of July are at hand; any processions on either of those days are illegal. It is most important for our cause that there be no public display of any kind on either of those occasions; nothing would be more gratifying to your enemies than your transgression of the law, nothing would be more deeply mortifying to your friends. I have received many favours from you: I am, therefore, emboldened to speak freely to you. Some of you are my immediate neighbours and my valued acquaintances. I beseech you, then, for reasons the soundness of which you would acknowledge could I communicate them to you, let no taunt, no provocation, no circumstance whatever, induce any of our Protestant brethren to break the law by assembling in procession on the 1st or 12th of July next.896 Again, my Lords, in the year 1845, when the Party Processions Act had expired, my noble Friend repeated to the Orange lodges his warning to abstain from these processions:—July 3, 1845. "Brother Protestants—The 1st of July is over; the monster meeting which the Repealers threatened to hold on that memorable anniversary on the banks of the Boyne has not taken place. Happily for the peace of Ulster, we have been saved from that insult. I hear that the Repealers are now endeavouring to induce our brethren to celebrate the 12th by processions with banners and flags. It cannot be for our advantage that such advice should be followed. Much as you value the events commemorated on that day—much as they should be honoured and regarded by every loyal subject in the land—I would not gratify these wishes expressed by the Repealers of Down, Tyrone, and Armagh. I should rather that you quietly met in your respective neighbourhoods, determined to maintain true Protestant principles amongst yourselves and your children, rejecting alike the insidious snares of false Protestantism within the Church, and the errors of Romanism, from which we have been happily delivered, under God, through the means of that Prince of glorious memory, King William the Third. I could not let this opportunity pass without tendering to you my opinion as to your proceedings on the approaching 12th. You already know I can have but one object in doing so, which is your welfare, and consequently the prosperity and happiness of all denominations of our fellow-subjects in Ulster.Therefore, my Lords, you now see that not only when these processions were notoriously illegal did my noble Friend near me give the Orange lodges warning of the illegality of these processions, and use every intreaty to dissuade them from joining in them, but even afterwards when the old law was restored, he impressed upon them the necessity of dispensing with and abstaining from them. But not only had my noble Friend near me no reason to think that these processions were not legal, but you will find that they had every reason to believe that they were not deemed illegal, by the Government themselves. I will now beg leave, my Lords, to bring under your notice one of the papers which I shall this night move for—I mean the correspondence which took place between the authorities in Dublin Castle and the magistrates of Armagh, on the subject of Orange processions, in the months of June and July, 1846; and this correspondence is the more remarkable, because you have in it the opinions of the representativos of two successive Governments upon the point now in question. On the 29th of June, 1846, Mr. W. Paton writes thus to the Earl of Lincoln, then Secretary for Ireland:— 897Armagh, June 29, 1840.My Lord—I have the honour to transmit herewith a copy of resolutions this day entered into at a meeting of magistrates resident in Armagh, and to request the earnest attention of your Lordship and of the Government to the subject of them, as, unless a sufficient force be placed at the disposal of the magistrates on the occasion referred to, they feel that they could not be responsible under the circumstances for the preservation of the peace of the city. I have been further directed by the magistrates present to re quest the opinion of the law officers of the Crown with reference to the following statement:—The Government must be aware that the affray and homicide which occurred on the last 12th of July arose out of a collision between a party walking in procession, and some of the inhabitants of a part of the town principally occupied by Roman Catholics, and the magistrates having learned that it is the intention of the Orange party on the ensuing occasion to walk through the same district of the city, and feeling that such an attempt would in evitably lead to resistance and serious outrage, are desirous of ascertaining whether they would be justified in preventing the Orange procession from entering that portion of the town, either with or without sworn informations being previously laid before them that such an attempt would be likely to lead to a breach of the peace. I have the honour to be, &c.—" W. PAION.Now it is quite clear, my Lords, that if the magistrates receive sworn informations that a procession is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, they may exercise their discretion, and prevent it as illegal. In July, 1846, Mr. Pennefather addressed this letter to the Armagh magistrates, in reply to inquiries from them as to the course they should take with regard to party processions:—Dublin Castle, July 4, 1846.Sir—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th ult., which, with the copy of the resolutions enclosed therein, I have submitted to the Lord Lieutenant; and in reply I am commanded by his Excellency to inform you that the Act 2 and 3 William IV., c. 118, having expired, party processions, merely as such, are no longer illegal; and the magistrates should therefore be very circumspect in interfering with them, if no breach of the peace be actually committed. If the persons composing the procession be conducting themselves peaceably, the magistrates should not interfere with them further than to endeavour to persuade them not to go into any particular part of the town where their appearance in procession may exasperate others to commit a breach of the peace. As a strong reinforcement has been made to the military force in Armagh, the magistrates can have a sufficient force placed in those parts of the town where any disturbance is apprehended, and take such measures as may appear to them advisable, from the informations they receive, to preserve the peace, and prevent any such collision as is apprehended. It is necessary that the military should be accompanied by a magistrate; and his Excellency has directed the attendance of a stipendiary magistrate at Armagh on the 11th inst. to assist the local magistracy in 898 preserving the peace of that city on the occasion referred to.—I have the honour to be, &c.RICHARD PENNEFATHER.The magistrates were not quite satisfied with these instructions, which they did not consider sufficiently definite; and on the 9th of July they addressed the following letter to the Government:—Armagh, July 9, 1846.Sir—I have this day submitted your letter of the 4th inst. to a meeting of magistrates, and am directed to state that it is not so satisfactory as they could have wished, inasmuch as it does not answer distinctly the question put in my letter of the 29th ult., namely, whether, under the circumstances therein stated, the magistrates would, either with or without sworn informations, he justified in preventing the Orange procession from entering that part of the town where disturbances might be apprehended. I have, therefore, now to request you will inform me whether under any and what circumstances, in reference to the case stated, the magistrates would be justified in stopping the procession from entering those parts of the town where any disturbance is apprehended?—I have the honour to be, Sir, "fee.W. PATON.The answer, expressing the opinions of the Government, was exceedingly useful to those for whose guidance it was intended; for, this being an inquiry as to what course of proceeding was to be taken on the morning of the 12th of July, the letter giving the magistrates advice was written on the evening of the 12th, and was received in Armagh on the morning of the 13th. The letter was in these terms:—Dublin Castle, July 12, 1846.Sir—I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th inst., and to acquaint you that it must be left to the discretion of the magistrates how far the sworn informations received will justify their interfering to preserve the public peace by arresting the progress of the procession. It is obvious that the most effectual mode of preserving order will be by placing a strong force in the locality where a collision between hostile parties is principally feared.—I have the honour to be, &c.T. N. REDINGTON.W. Paton, Esq., J. P., Armagh.I must now, even at the risk of wearying your Lordships, refer to a few points of the evidence, some of which—as being, I suppose, considered immaterial—were altogether omitted by Mr. Commissioner Berwick from his report. Evidence was given to show the opinions not only of the local magistrates, but of the stipendiary magistrates, with regard to this particular meeting on the 12th of July, and also upon the general question whether party processions, per se, were illegal or not. Some of your Lordships may, perhaps, not be 899 disposed to lay much stress upon the opinion of Mr. William Beers; but he states that he believed the procession was not an illegal one. [The noble Lord read an extract from a shorthand writer's report of the evidence of Mr. Beers, in which that gentleman stated that he was of opinion the meeting was legal, and that opinion prevailed among the magistrates. His reason for entertaining the opinion was, that he had been informed that on the 17th of March, the high sheriff at the assizes informed Chief Baron Pigot that an armed body of men was coming into the town, and asked what course he should take; and the Chief Baron said, that if danger of a riot was apprehended, the military might be called out; but in the meantime the procession passed quietly through the town.] But what was the evidence given by my noble Friend Lord Roden? I am quoting now, not from the "material" portions of the evidence furnished by Mr. Commissioner Berwick, but from the notes of a shorthand writer who attended the whole proceedings, who took the evidence much more folly than it appears to have been taken by Mr. Berwick, and the accuracy of whose report has been verified by affidavit in the Court of Queen's Bench by himself, and testified to by the different parties who gave evidence. One of the papers for which I move is the report annexed to the affidavit of John Porter, which was taken by the reporter for the same newspaper whose report was relied upon in these proceedings by Mr. Berwick, as testifying to the accuracy of the terms used in a speech delivered by Mr. W. Beers, and upon which report Mr. Beers was condemned and removed from the commission. I hope, therefore, that my noble Friend will not impugn the accuracy of this report of the proceedings before the Commissioner. I must bog your Lordships to observe that the report of Mr. Berwick—a report of evidence supposed to contain all that was material, and furnished as the ground, and the sole ground, for the summary dismissal of two magistrates—does not distinguish between the evidence taken on the examination in chief and that taken on cross-examination; it does not state, in answer, to whom the evidence was given; but it gives a summary of the evidence, sometimes confounding the evidence which was given in July and August with that subsequently given by the same witness in the month of September. Any person at all acquainted with the nature of criminal 900 proceedings, must be satisfied that it is of the greatest consequence to know whether evidence was given on examination in chief or on cross-examination, and to know by whom the questions were put, in order to judge of the probable object of such questions; but there is no separation of this kind in the evidence presented by Mr. Berwick. I was about to ask your Lordships' attention to the evidence of my noble Friend Lord Roden. He says—On the 17th of March last, between seven and eight o'clock in the morning of that day, I rode to this town, to see the procession for myself; saw scattered groups of people as I rode along, all armed. They seemed very much surprised to see me there alone at that hour of the morning; some of them were very civil to me, and touched their hats; others fired off their guns. After breakfast I rode out again, with my son, and did my utmost to prevent the Protestants, who were very much alarmed, from offering the Ribandmen any annoyance. Was engaged riding through the country, with my son, the whole day for that purpose. I prevailed on the Protestants to keep quiet, and the procession got no annoyance. After dinner, in the evening, a party of the Riband procession marched through my village (Bryansford), which is a Protestant village, and as they passed my gate they fired a volley over it; it did no harm—it was done more for bravado than anything else, I think. They did not get any annoyance in consequence of that. If I had thought the Orange procession was illegal, it should not have entered my gates.In his subsequent evidence he says—My impression was, that both processions, on the respective days of the 17th of March and 12th of July, were not illegal; if not, I should have felt it my duty, as a magistrate, to stop them. Both parties seemed to agree that each had a right to walk on the respective days. My opinion was, that after the expiration of the Processions Act both parties had a right to march.Mr. Shaw, another of the magistrates, says—Orange processions have been permitted from time immemorial by Government; have always seen arms with them, which were fired off foolishly; did not consider this an illegal procession because the men had arms with them. I say, that seeing the procession with arms in their hands did not create terror in me, nor did any one else declare to me that he felt terror. Cannot say if the Roman Catholics had reason to feel terror.Mr. M'Mullan, a Roman Catholic magistrate, said he never knew there was any law to prevent processions. Captain Fitzmaurice, the stipendiary magistrate, who was sent down to act with the other magistrates, says—I did not consider the body of men I saw assembled on Mr. Beers' lawn an illegal body.Yet that evidence of Captain Fitzmaurice is considered immaterial by Mr. Commissioner Berwick, and is omitted from his 901 report. I must trouble your Lordships with a somewhat lengthened extract from the evidence of Mr. Hill, another stipendiary magistrate, which is given very briefly in Mr. Berwick's abridgment. Mr. Hill says—On the 12th of July, 1848, the Orangemen marched by the new road to Castlewellan; I escorted them, on that occasion, as on this 12th, with police; they were not molested in any way in 1848; I have also escorted bodies of Ribandmen, on various occasions, and protected them. Mr. Francis Charles Beers walked with me at the head of the police, from Bally ward to Castlewellan, as a magistrate, and not as a leader of the Orangemen; he could not have acted as a leader of the Orangemen without my knowledge; did not think the meeting was an illegal or unlawful assembly, especially as I had repeatedly reported the fact of armed processions to Government, and sent forward the names of parties for prosecution, without Government taking any notice of the matter; the Orangemen have always been in the habit of assembling to celebrate a ceremony on the 12th of July with arms in their hands; on the 17th of March, Mr. F. Beers, with a party of police, went at the head of a Riband procession that passed by Kate's Bridge; he kept the peace on that occasion; Mr. F. C. Beers was with me when the firing took place; he did not join the Orangemen, but remained with me, and acted as a magistrate, being exposed to the fire as well as myself; never before saw so peaceable a procession of Orangemen as this one, up to the time of the skirmish.That is the evidence of Mr. Hill; but will your Lordships believe that the only line of that evidence recorded by Mr. Berwick is this?—" I have repeatedly reported the fact of armed processions to the Government." Mr. Berwick omits the evidence as to the conduct of Mr. Beers on that occasion; he omits the opinion of that gentleman, that he did not consider the meeting illegal, and the reason for that opinion; because, after his repeated representations to the Government, they had taken no steps to prevent such meetings. All this is judged immaterial by the impartial Mr. Berwick, and is omitted in the evidence laid before my noble Friend opposite. I would beg your Lordships to compare the evidence of Mr. F. Beers, as given in Mr. Berwick's report, and in the report to which I have referred. Mr. F. Beers, in alluding to the Riband procession which took place on the 17th of March, is represented, in Mr. Berwick's report, as sayI did believe that the procession of the 17th of March was an illegal procession; and I have little doubt that the procession of the 12th of July [there is a blank here in my notes of one line]—I believe they thought there would have 902 been an attack, and, therefore, that they left their houses.This is most improbable evidence for a gentleman to give who says he thought it his duty to escort that very procession and protect it. But in page 114 of the report of the evidence I have before quoted from, Mr. Beers makes this statement:—I escorted them through what I conceived the dangerous part of the road, and, after I left them, they fired shots into my demesne; the Processions Act having expired, I really did not think this an illegal body, but I thought there was danger of a breach of the public peace should the Orangemen and they come in contact.And yet, in the face of this evidence, Mr. Berwick would lead you to believe, by his significant blank, that Mr. Beers had given an opinion that the meeting was illegal, while, on the contrary, he declares that he believed it to have been legal. That, I think, my Lords, is a direct perversion of the evidence; and upon this perverted evidence it was that my noble Friend was called upon to judge of the merits of the case. Mr. Berwick, however, lays down the law after a fashion of his own, and in a very singular manner. I am aware that I ought to apologise to your Lordships for attempting to deal with a question of this kind; but I must say that the doctrines laid down by Mr. Berwick appear to me so extraordinary, that it is impossible they can have any foundation in law. In page 9 of his report, Mr. Berwick lays down the principle, that—All bodies or processions of men, whether armed or unarmed, but more particularly if armed, who are assembled under such circumstances as are calculated to endanger the public peace, and to excite terror and alarm amongst Her Majesty's subjects, are thenceforth to be considered and treated by those assigned to keep the public peace as illegal bodies, dangerous to the well-being of society, and therefore to be repressed, if necessary, by the strong arm of the law. And it is also an equally plain proposition in law, that any body of private persons combined even for the most innocent and lawful object, who proceed in numbers to effect that object, with a determination to resist by force all who shall oppose them in their design, is dangerous to the public peace; their acts become thenceforth illegal; and all who lend their assistance or countenance to their proceedings are abettors in, and answerable for, all the resulting consequences.The inference which Mr. Berwick manifestly seeks to draw from the law thus laid down as applicable to this case is, that if I and some of my neighbours in pursuit of a lawful and innocent object, are met with threats, and violence, and outrage—if we are told that parties have collected to 903 oppose us by force, and to prevent us from performing the most innocent, and even most praiseworthy acts, the fact of their being an illegal combination against us makes our arming for our own protection, with a determination not to be put down, an illegal act in itself; and that in consequence of the illegal conduct of our opponents, our innocent act is converted into an illegal proceeding. My Lords, a more monstrous proposition was never attempted to be brought forward by any person professing even the slightest knowledge of law. Every person possessing the least acquaintance with the fundamental principles of the British constitution is aware of the right which every Englishman has to protect himself, his wife, his family, and his servants, by violence, if need be, against unlawful oppression and unlawful force from any quarter. This proposition docs not need enforcing; but in the fifth report of the Commissioners on the Reform of the Criminal Law, I find this passage:—If it be proper that the law should allow a man to defend his dwelling-house, or his person in his dwelling-house, by numbers and arms, it must be equally so to give him the same means of retaining possession of his lands when threatened with an unlawful entry; and of his goods, when they are about to be taken from him; and also of protecting his person when he has reason to apprehend an unlawful assault wheresoever it may occur.That doctrine is consistent with reason and with our constitutional principles and practice; but if the doctrine of Mr. Berwick were carried to the extent to which he is disposed to press it, English law would be—what it never was intended to be, and what I hope it never will be allowed to be—absolutely destructive of English liberty. I may refer your Lordships, in further explanation, to a distinction taken by two very distinguished Members of this House in the proceedings in error; in the case of the late Mr. O'Connell, in 1844. In that case there was a count charging intimidation, which was declared by all the noble and learned Lords who were present to be bad, as ambiguous and uncertain, inasmuch as, according to a noble and learned Lord opposite, it did not appear from the count whether the intimidation charged was intimidation in defence of the law, or intimidation against the law; or, as my noble and learned Friend near me said, it did not appear that it was not an intimidation of the intimidators. If it had been an intimidation of the intimidators—an in- 904 timidation in defence of law against those who were violating the law—there could be no doubt in the mind of any human being, except Mr. Commissioner Berwick, that that intimidation would have been perfectly lawful, and that no person could have been punished for it if these processions were not pronounced illegal in 1846. I may ask how it is that so sudden a change has come over the spirit of the dream of noble Lords opposite with regard to the body of Orangemen since 1848? For the answer to that question I think I may appeal to my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. I ask him what were the circumstances of the year 1848? I ask him in what condition he and the Government stood in March, April, and May, 1848? I ask him whether he did not find it politic, wise, and necessary, threatened as he then was by a most insane rebellion, hardly more ludicrous in its results than it was formidable in its preparations, I ask whether he did not then rejoice in the demonstration of Orange numbers, of Orange force, of Orange loyalty? I ask where were then the Orangemen of Ulster? There was no talk then of "what is called grand master of a lodge;" but grateful acknowledgments and thanks were given to the loyal Orangemen of one district, and the loyal Protestants of another. [A PEER here made a suggestion to the noble Lord.] Ay, to the loyal Orangemen. Answers were given to the addresses of the loyal Orangemen; the loyal Orangemen were intrusted with arms—not perhaps with the knowledge of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Clarendon), but certainly by persons very nearly and intimately connected with him. They were intrusted with arms for the formation of a body which professed its determination to exclude Catholics—an exclusively Protestant body, such arms being furnished by the command of Sir Edward Blakeney, in 1848. [A PEER here made a remark to the noble Lord, who immediately said]—I believe that to have been the case; but if there is the smallest doubt on the subject I withdraw the statement. There is, however, no doubt that in 1848 the Orangemen, as Orangemen, were not only flattered, petted, caressed, but much more than that—they were trusted; and it was in consequence of the organisation, the numbers, the power, and the determination of the Orangemen, that my noble Friend opposite was enabled to strip Ulster comparatively 905 of the Queen's troops, and to leave the preservation of the peace of that province in the hands of the loyal Orangemen. To show the spirit which existed in 1848, I may read an extract from a letter addressed by my noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) to Mr. W. Beers. He says—I trust the excellent advice you have given the Orangemen of the county of Down will be duly appreciated and strictly adhered to; so that our valuable institution will gain the approbation of many who have hitherto disapproved of it. The peaceable demeanour of our brethren, and the calm, but determined, deportment of the thousands of brave Orangemen who will unite in celebrating their anniversary on the 12th of July, cannot fail to insure this result. Had it been consistent with your arrangements, I should have been happy that the ground chosen for your meeting was within the gates of Tollymore Park, where an opportunity would have been afforded me of witnessing the numbers, as well as the loyalty, of those lodges over which you preside. It is of little consequence to us now what political party is in power; perhaps the least danger is to be apprehended from those who are the present Ministers of the Crown; but I am sure it is our duty as loyal Orangemen to give every support in our power to the Earl of Clarendon's Government, so long as the law is put in force against its transgressors, and that justice and impartiality are fairly meted out to all denominations of our countrymen.Did the noble Earl then disclaim such allies—did he refuse to accept their assistance, on the ground that they violated the law by illegal demonstrations of force, and by illegal party processions? No such thing. It was known that my noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) was at that time in constant, familiar, and confidential communication with the noble Earl opposite; yet no notice of dissent from the course pursued by the Orangemen of Ireland emanated from the noble Earl, and they had a right to believe, and did believe, that their processions and meetings were sanctioned by the Government. If these meetings were in themselves illegal, why were they allowed to be carried to a greater extent in 1848 than at any previous time? and I ask if, according to the doctrine of Mr. Berwick, they were all grossly illegal ab initio, why informations were not tendered in a single case of such illegal meetings and processions?
But I will inquire, in the next place, had the Government no notice of these proceedings in 1849? Why, Mr. Scott, a resident magistrate of the county of Down, states in evidence, that he had apprehensions before the 1st of July that serious work would take place on the 12th of that month; and he says— 906I spoke to Mr. M'Mullin, a Roman Catholic magistrate; I told him I was going to Dublin, and asked whether I might state at the Castle, on his authority, our apprehension that there would be a riot. I called at the Castle and saw Mr. Redington, and told him I called on the subject, fearing there would be a riot.Mr. Scott subsequently stated, in cross-examination, that he put Mr. Redington in possession of all the information he had, and told him that both parties were armed very extensively. The sub-inspector of police, Mr. Hill, also gave similar information to the Government, and told them even that the meeting was to he held in Tollymore Park, the seat of the Earl of Roden, who was then in constant confidential communication with my noble Friend opposite. I ask the noble Earl whether, at that time, he gave to the Earl of Roden the slightest intimation that, by receiving a procession such as had been described in Tollymore Park, he would render himself liable to be implicated in the proceedings of an illegal assembly? If that were not done, if no such warning proceeded from the Lord Lieutenant, who was perfectly acquainted with all the facts of the case, then I say that my noble Friend had cause to be surprised when he was told that by receiving the procession in Tollymore Park he had implicated himself in the proceedings of an illegal assembly. But these were not the only gentlemen who gave information on this subject to the Government; they were the only two mentioned in Mr. Berwick's report. Similar information was given by Mr. F. Beers, though the fact is omitted as immaterial in the report of Mr. Berwick. Mr. F. Beers was in Dublin at the time, and, as far as it appears, had no intention of taking part in the procession. He wrote to the Sub-Inspector of police on the spot to know what was going to take place. The Sub-Inspector wrote to Mr. Beers, entreating him to go down for the purpose of preserving the peace. Before Mr. Beers left Dublin he called upon the Inspector-General of police, and gave him information on the subject. The Inspector replied, that he had sent down a sufficient force to preserve the peace, and requested Mr. Beers to go down to the spot; and for so being upon the spot, in consequence of information he received from the Inspector and Sub-Inspector, this matter being omitted in Mr. Berwick's very faithful report, and, for taking the part I shall describe to your Lordships, Mr. F. Beers was summarily dismissed from the commission of the peace. 907 Mr. Berwick says, he thinks the stipendiary magistrates were wrong in not having taken steps to prevent the procession, and in not distinctly requiring the assistance of their brother magistrates to prevent the march of the Orange party through the district. It is very easy to blame the stipendiary magistrates for not taking that course; but when the magistrates of Armagh asked if they would be justified in such interference, they were told they would not—that they must act on their own discretion. Why were not the magistrates furnished with distinct instructions? If they had such instructions, I want to know where they are. I want to know what instructions were given to the stipendiary magistrates who were sent down specially from other districts to advise the local magistrates, and whether they had directions to prevent this procession from taking place. I want to know why no informations were sworn? I will tell your Lordships why—because no danger was apprehended from the procession. No danger of a collision was apprehended, except by those who were determined unlawfully to obstruct the procession, and they did not swear informations because they trusted in their intrenchments and their walls, from the shelter of which they committed their dastardly and cowardly attack. There was no apprehension that the public peace would be violated by the Orangemen; nor, till the attack upon them, was there a single instance of irregularity or misconduct on the part of any of that body.
I now come, my Lords, to another part of the case—the character of the commission. I say that the commission is a matter of much more doubtful legality than the procession. I should like to know where my noble Friends opposite found any warrant for the issue of a commission of inquiry into crime—a commission to be conducted according to no known principles of law, but in violation of the best known principles of law—and which, according to Lord Coke, is itself illegal. That learned writer said—A commission is a delegation by warrant of an Act of Parliament, or of the common law, whereby jurisdiction, power, or authority, is conferred to others. All commissions of now invention are against law, until they have allowance by Act of Parliament.Mr. Whiteside, a very able Irish lawyer, had said with regard to commissions of inquiry (referring to the case entitled "Commissions of Inquiry," 12 Reports, 31):— 908There a commission was granted to certain commissioners to inquire into depopulation of houses, converting of arable lands into pasture, &c. This commission was held to be against law. For this, 'that it was only to inquire, which is against law; for by this a man may be unjustly accused by perjury, and he shall not have any remedy.' And again, 'No such commission ever was seen to inquire only of crimes.'Mr. Whiteside further said—I think it clear no witness sworn and examined before Mr. Berwick could be prosecuted for perjury. And upon the highest authority in the law it is submitted this commission of inquiry granted to Mr. Berwick was illegal and unconstitutional—a positive obstruction to justice; permitting the defamation of individuals, the taking of false oaths, for which there could be no punishment, and provoking resistance to its mandates where, if death ensued, there could be no prosecution for murder.In 1835 an Act was passed for the purpose of abolishing certain oaths and affirmations, and section 13 provided that after the passing of the Act it should be unlawful for any justice of the peace or other person to administer, or allow to be administered, or to receive, or cause or allow to be received, any oath or solemn affirmation touching any matter or thing whereof such justice or other person had not jurisdiction or cognisance by some statute in force at the time. Now, I beg the noble Lords opposite to point out by what statute Mr. Commissioner Berwick was authorised to summon witnesses, or to administer oaths, in defiance of this distinct Act of Parliament. Mr. Berwick's court appears to me to have been a mock tribunal, where men's characters were taken away by witnesses who could not be indicted for perjury. I ask, what sort of court was this? Was this inquiry a judicial or a magisterial proceeding? Clearly, it was not a judicial proceeding in conformity with any known principle of English law. There was no person to try; the prosecutor, Mr. Berwick, was also the judge; and, if there were any culprits, they were the witnesses who were brought forward to give evidence. This was no magisterial inquiry, for the nature of magisterial inquiries was defined by the 12th and 13th Victoria, c. 16, which stated that magistrates might grant summonses and warrants against parties accused or suspected. But here there was no party accused or suspected. Magistrates may issue summonses for witnesses, and in this case, no doubt, witnesses were summoned, who were required to answer such questions as Mr. Commissioner Berwick chose to put to them de omnibus rebus. 909 There were, besides, three attorneys and two counsel on each side, who might, in the cross-fire of their examination, put to these unfortunate witnesses questions touching their own conduct with regard to matters which might afterwards become the subjects of judicial inquiry. It is provided by the English law, that in proceedings before magistrates the accused persons shall be cautioned that any statements they make will be taken down and may be used against them; but no such caution was given by Mr. Commissioner Berwick to the persons who came before him in the mixed character of culprits and witnesses. If the investigation had been directed with a view to guide the Executive, as to whether criminal prosecutions should not be directed against offenders, and its proceedings had been conducted privately, he should have felt less objection to it; but it was directed against the discretion of the magistrates. Mr. Berwick declared his court to be an open court, to which all persons had right of access, open to all the world. His next proceeding was to summon witnesses, and to threaten with committal those who did not attend his illegal summons; nay, to threaten with committal persons who omitted to produce papers and documents which he chose to call for. I say that, whatever may have been the case as to the commission itself in initio, these proceedings of Mr. Berwick, in his commission, were without any warrant of law; and I say that the publication of this illegal evidence, collected before an illegal tribunal, was prejudicial to the administration of justice, inasmuch as the publication of that evidence prejudiced persons who were liable to be put on their trial; persons, some of whom, as I am reminded by my noble Friend behind me, have since been actually indicted, and are about to undergo a trial, with all the prejudice arising from that publication arrayed against them.
I will proceed to show that not only were the proceedings before the commission illegal and unwarrantable in themselves, but that the evidence taken has not been fairly stated in Mr. Berwick's report. I have got here some few illustrations of this fact, among a great many samples that I might readily adduce. First, I will request your Lordships to turn to Mr. Berwick's statement, page 5, about the shots fired at Mr. Morgan:—Unfortunately, however, after the procession had ended, some stragglers from the Orange party 910 committed some acts of violence, and fired shots in the evening on their way home in the neighbourhood of Mr. Morgan's house, the balls from two of which came so close to that gentleman, that he was of opinion that they were fired at him, and his parishioners were, in consequence, much exasperated.What was the evidence actually given before Mr. Berwick? That, on the evening of the 12th, as the procession was returning, some Catholics were firing off a few shots, and the Orangemen thought these were fired at them, upon which some of them turned back to repel the insult. So that whereas, according to Mr. Berwick's account, this was an unprovoked attack by the Orangemen on the Roman Catholics; the facts, as stated in the evidence, show that the attack originated "in a few shots "fired by the Roman Catholics at the Orangemen, a portion of whom turned back to repel the insult; and there is in support of this statement the evidence of Mr. W. Beers that he remonstrated on the particular occasion. There is manifestly, then, a decided bias not only in Mr. Berwick's report, but in his selection of the evidence. In the next page to that I have quoted, after mentioning that Mr. W. Beers had given repeated announcements on the subject, and setting forth that Mr. Beers organised the procession, Mr. Berwick proceeds to say—About the time this was taking place, Mr. Fitzmauriee had arrived, with Mr. Hill, from Rathfriland at Ballyward, the residence of Mr. Francis Beers. There they found the Orange party assembled in arms in his demesne in great numbers, their place of rendezvous having been fixed at Ballyward church, whence they were to proceed, through Mr. Beers' demesne, on their road to Castlewellan.But when we turn to Mr. Beers' evidence, we find him stating—I did not organise the procession. I organised the constabulary and military, who were to protect the procession, and not the procession.Yet, with this evidence before him, Mr. Berwick tells us that it was in Mr. Beers' demesne the Orange party was mustered. Now, as to the reasons for not taking the new road home, Mr. Berwick states in his report—The magistrates were then assembled on the hill, and all agreed that it would be most dangerous to allow the Orange party to come back by the same road, and it was arranged that Mr. Fitzmaurice should proceed to Lord Roden's, and request his Lordship's interference to induce them to return by some other way. The Rev. Mr. Morgan, though still expressing his fears of a collision, appears to have doubted the utility of such an arrangement, 911 as he said, 'since they had gone that road, they might as well come back the same way.'Now, Mr. Morgan gave He such evidence, nor anything like it. He stated that, in point of fact, he did at first express the opinion that as they had come by the old road they might as well return by it; but he afterwards altered this opinion, a fact which does not at all appear on the face of the proceedings. The evidence which he did actually give is contained in page 105, and, where not altogether omitted, is altogether misrepresented in Mr. Berwick's report. It is not the fact that all the magistrates were of the opinion stated by Mr. Berwick. The magistrates deputed Mr. Fitzmaurice, who proceeded to Tollymore-park, and represented to Lord Roden that there might be some danger in returning the same way, giving this, not as Mr. Morgan's opinion, but as his own; and Lord Roden having spoken with Mr. W. Beers, said that he had received reasons which he thought sufficient to induce him to the opinion that if he advised the Orangemen to return by the new road instead of by the old, a portion of them might take his advice, but the other portion might not take it, and thus there might be split among them, the consequence of which would be an infinitely greater danger of collision than there would be if they went altogether in a body. The reason thus assigned was amply sufficient to have guided the judgment of Lord Roden, if that had been the only question, or if Lord Roden had been the person to determine the question. And mark, that if the procession had adopted the advice, and gone by the new road, the result would have been, after the movement of the Riband body, by which they took possession of the hill which commands both roads, that the Orangemen would have been exposed to the attack of the Ribandmen on the other side of the hill of Magheramayo. The reason, such as it was, which thus influenced the route of the procession, and which is represented in Mr. Berwick's report as quite insignificant, is not even referred to in the letter of the Under Secretary, written, I presume, under the direction of my noble Friend. Mr. Tabuteau gives it as his opinion that, if the Orangemen had gone the other road in the morning, no collision would have taken place. The priest also lays infinite stress on this point, on the importance of keeping the body together, and he even vindicates on this ground his administering 912 to a large armed assembly his blessing, on the condition that they would not attack the Orangemen; a condition which, when they were asked the question, it appears they did not give any assent to; but nevertheless he administered the blessing. His view was, that so long as you kept the whole body together, mischief might be prevented, but if stragglers got running over the country with arms in their hands, collision was inevitable. I go on to another misrepresentation of Mr. Berwick on a very important point. He says—"Two Roman Catholic clergymen appear to have exerted themselves without effect to induce this body to return to their homes." Now, the two Roman Catholics did no such thing. The evidence on this point is—I did advise them to go away out of that in the middle of the day, but did not tell them to go home. If I stated formerly that I did tell them to go home, I did not do it knowingly. The reason I did not tell them to go home was, that I was afraid lest some evil-disposed persons might not do so, but waylay the Orangemen, as they were returning home, and attack them.There are only two other points in this evidence on which it is necessary to say a few words. Mr. Berwick says when the procession was formed, a blank shot was fired, but from what party he was not able to say. Now, I will not call your attention to the details of the evidence, but the circumstances were somewhat remarkable. One witness states that when the procession was formed he followed it some way, and then states that a squib or signal was fired. Seven or eight other witnesses state that they did not see the squib, but heard it, and further state most of them, their impression that it came from the road. On the other hand, a number of soldiery not connected with the procession, swear most positively, and on their oath, that they saw the smoke, and that they heard the squib, and that, most distinctly, it was fired on the hill; that immediately afterwards two persons came forward from among the Ribandmen and fired two shots, which shots were immediately followed by a volley; yet after this sworn evidence Mr. Berwick ventures to state that he considers it doubtful which party it was that fired, or rather, indeed, that he considers the balance of evidence to be in favour of the opinion that the shots were fired from the hill. Balance of evidence! Why, the whole evidence is on one side, and none on the other whatever! Or give the "impressions" on which Mr. Berwick thinks fit to rely, the title of evidence, and still, 913 what evidence is it? The evidence of persons whom Mr. Berwick himself elsewhere admits he does not believe—evidence of a piece with that of the witness who says—" The four of them, that is, soldiers, presented their guns at me; they were as close to me as you are (that is, about two yards off), and they all fired at me; but, thank the Lord, they all missed me." Evidence such as this is, I submit, not to he listened to for a moment, against the solemn and distinct testimony of magistrates, military officers, police, against the positive oaths, in the particular case, of six persons who did see the smoke of the squib, and did see it fired, and did hear and identify the report—while all that is brought forward on the other side is the impression of persons who saw no smoke, who saw no flash, nor heard a report. My Lords, Mr. Berwick may be a very able counsel, a very clever advocate in putting forward one side of a case, but God defend me from being placed before him as my judge, where my fate depended upon an impartial summing of the evidence. There is another statement I must make a remark upon. The report says—" The skull of an idiot was beaten in with the butts of their (that is, the Orangemen's) muskets." This is very circumstantial, and one would suppose, of course, that the fact as stated had been seen; that Mr. Berwick, or some competent witness, had actually witnessed the knocking in of the skull by the butt-end of the Orange musket, so absolutely identified as not a Riband butt-end: not a bit of it: the idiot boy, as the Riband evidence called him, but in reality a man of 40, was not seen to be killed at all, and the only evidence about him is that of a lad of 16, who states that he saw him lying on the road with his skull beaten in, and that of Mr. Fitzmaurice, who also states that he saw him lying in the road, and that his impression was he had been shot from the hill. Yet, upon such evidence as this, we find Mr. Berwick deliberately stating that no doubt the poor man's skull had been beaten in by the butt-end of an Orange musket. That the poor man was killed, no doubt, indeed; but that he was killed by the butt-end of a musket, much doubt:—for, in the first place, a bullet, a sufficient cause of death, was actually found in his head; and, in the second place, while he lay dead on the road, two troops of dragoons passed over his body—a circumstance of itself amply sufficient to account fur the appearance of the head. 914 Mr. Berwick, however, thought fit to be of a different opinion. As to the evidence of the Ribandmen, imputing to Mr. Beers cruelty and outrage, were the evidence true, Mr. Beers would not be adequately punished by the deprivation of the commission of the peace; far heavier punishment would be his due; but Mr. Berwick himself does not believe one word of their evidence on the subject, and we have the distinct evidence of every human being credible on the point that Messrs. Beers were both earnestly engaged throughout the conflict in seeking to protect all parties from outrage. The commission endured from the beginning of August to the end of November, and in the next session informations were tendered by the Crown Solicitor, on the part of Mr. Berwick, against various parsons. In the first place, I would ask why were these informations laid before the magistrates at Castlewellan, many of whom were known to have been present at the procession? Every single witness, every single person proceeded against resided at Rathfriland, 12 or 14 miles off, and all entreated to have the case tried in their own district; but, for some reason or other, Mr. Berwick thought fit to have it proceeded with at Castlewellan. Moreover, Mr. Berwick thought fit to be present, and to expound the law, and to assist the magistrates with his counsels. And here let me say that, as I do not wish to go beyond the clear merits of the ease, I am prepared to admit in the presence of my noble Friend the Chairman of the Castlewellan bench, that having been, however indirectly or remotely connected with the procession, it might perhaps, have exhibited somewhat more discretion had he abstained, on that particular occasion, from presiding. But admitting, however, an act of indiscretion on his part, the indiscretion was not of a character which afforded the shadow of a case for the removal of my noble Friend. Suppose the case, that before a petty sessions there come on the question of some pathway that has been stopped up; will it be suggested that because any given magistrates, who take an interest in the opening or closing of the path, attend in their places on the bench, they are to be subjected to severe imputation, or, far more, removed? Many instances have occurred where magistrates, and in high stations too, have heard, and blamelessly have heard, cases in which they have themselves been notoriously int- 915 ested. The noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, for example—and he will do me the justice to believe that I do not refer to him in the slightest degree offensively—not above two or three months since heard, as Lord High Chancellor of England, a case of property between an individual and a company, the Grand Junction Canal Company, and decided in favour of that company, he himself being a large shareholder in it. Did any man take exception to this proceeding, and put it as a case for Parliamentary censure and impeachment? Yet the impeachment of the noble and learned Lord would have been only an analogous case with, and not a whit more serious case, than the degradation to which my noble Friend has been subjected at the hands of the Government. Another circumstance to be observed upon is that the bench at Castlewellan on this occasion was not the ordinary bench; by some accident or other it so happened that upon that particular occasion three or four gentlemen were present, who came from distant parts of the county, and who further happened to have strong political opinions coinciding with the views of Mr. Berwick, and who made up the minority that voted in favour of the informations. Why was Mr. Berwick there at all? Why, he was there to intimidate, to overawe, to bribe the magistrates. Not in a pecuniary way of course; but the term "bribery," strong as it may appear, is not an atom too strong for the fact, when I can show that Mr. Berwick, when he found the magistrates indisposed to receive his definition of the law, endeavoured to persuade them privately to take a course which they did not deem consistent with the constitution, by the promise which he, in his quality of High Commissioner, thought fit to give, that if the parties were convicted the sentence should be only a nominal sentence. At least, he put forward this statement as an inducement for the magistrates to find the informations—that, if he were the judge who had to try the case, he should decidedly be of opinion that the punishment should be only nominal. I want to know what business Mr. Berwick had to attend this petty sessions at all? This was a matter in which the magistrates had to act on their own responsibility, and according to their own discretion; and yet Mr. Berwick set about to induce them wholly to surrender that discretion, and to forget that responsibility. Let me cite the words of a learned Lord (Lord Plun- 916 kett), in 1823, exactly appropriate to the present occurrence:—It (a committee) is a judicial act on the part of the magistrate; he must exercise his own discretion, and rest upon his own responsibility. I conceive it would be a great violation of duty in him to relinquish his own judgment to that of any other person, and I conceive it would be a very improper thing on the part of any other person to give him a direction.In reply to the further question—"Would you think a magistrate acted properly in committing on the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, on evidence taken before them, without himself examining that evidence, and having it regularly sworn and reduced into the form of informations before him? "The noble and learned Lord replied—"I should think that he acted very irregularly and improperly in so doing." What was the case at Castlewellan petty sessions? I hold the information in my hand—that information was not drawn up according to the definition of the law laid down by Mr. Berwick, for his subordinates did not think it prudent to follow his authority in the matter. The information runs thus:—For that you, on the 12th day of July last, in the parish of Drumgooland, in said county (with several other evil-disposed persons unknown, to the number of 500 and upwards), unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled and gathered yourselves together, to the great terror and alarm of several of Her Majesty's subjects thereabouts residing; and, further, that you, being so assembled, did commit, and aid and abet in the commission of, divers overt acts of violence, in furtherance of the objects for which you and said other persons unlawfully assembled together, &c.That was the form. What was the evidence on which the information was supported? Mr. Inspector Hill states that Mr. Jardine, the first person charged with being engaged in any illegal violence, was not engaged in any act of violence; that the assembly did not create alarm in Mr. Hill, and was not calculated to excite terror and alarm in the minds of Her Majesty's subjects; that it was quiet and orderly, accompanied by the stipendiary and other magistrates, with a large body of police and military, and also with many respectable women and children belonging to the families of those who composed the procession. Such was the evidence which was to affirm the informations; and upon such evidence most assuredly the magistrates were fully justified in refusing to receive the information, notwithstanding Mr. Berwick's insisting upon the vital importance 917 of having what he called the law established. If the law was as clear and undoubted as Mr. Berwick seemed to think it was, and if his object was to have that law established by a decision, I must say he took a course not at all calculated to obtain that end, but one which seems to me more likely to prevent a decision from being obtained. If Mr. Berwick was right that this was a mere point of law and not of discretion, why did not he apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for a mandamus to compel the magistrates to receive the information? for if the magistrates had violated the law by refusing that information, the Court of Queen's Bench would undoubtedly have granted a mandamus in the case. If, on the other hand, it was a case of discretion, the court would not have granted the mandamus except upon evidence of a corrupt intention. It seems to me that this was clearly a case for the judgment and discretion of the magistrates, and that it is evident the magistrates exercised a sound discretion. There is another course which Mr. Berwick might have taken. Why did he not indict the parties before the quarter-sessions? I have said that the Court of Queen's Bench would not have granted a mandamus, except upon evidence of corruption. On the 2nd of August they could not have done so; but they could on the 9th of October, when the second meeting of the magistrates was held, before which informations of a similar character were tendered, and rejected by thirteen out of fourteen of the magistrates, notwithstanding the opportune dismissal of Lord Roden two days previously. In the meantime an Act had come into force (namely, the 12th and 13th Victoria), entitled, "An Act for the Protection of Her Majesty's Subjects in Ireland," by which it is enacted that where magistrates shall refuse to do any act required I of them, it shall be lawful for parties to apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for a rule calling upon the justices to show cause why they have not done it, and if, after due service of such rule, they do not show cause, the Court shall have power to compel them to do the act so required. This statute came into force on the 2nd of October, and would have supplied Mr. Berwick with a simple and inexpensive mode of establishing the law, had he chosen to avail himself of it; but he did not. I have now very nearly concluded my statement. But there is one point to which it is impossible I can refrain from adverting, although I 918 shall compress my observations into the narrowest compass. I presume that Mr. Berwick's report and the minutes of evidence, such as they were, reached the Lord Lieutenant soon after the 22nd of September (the date of the conclusion of the inquiry). No doubt the Lord Lieutenant must have carefully perused the evidence. As a proof of the time and attention which he paid to the case, I find that his Lordship's letter, or rather the letter of the Under Secretary to the Lord Chancellor, is dated the 6th of October, and that in that letter it is stated that—on a full consideration of the entire case, the Lord Lieutenant has come to the conclusion that a due regard for the future preservation of the peace in the district in question, and for the administration of justice therein in a manner which will be entitled to public confidence and respect, imperatively requires that the magistrates whose conduct he has thus noticed should no longer discharge the important functions and duties of that office, and I am therefore desired to convey to your Lordship his Excellency's recommendation that the Earl of Roden, William Beers, and Francis Beers, Esquires, be superseded in the commissions of the peace which they now hold.Now, I have always understood (I shall be corrected by high authority if I am wrong) that the magistrates of Ireland, like the magistrates of England, are not under the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, but of the Lord High Chancellor. I have always believed that it was vested in the Lord High Chancellor to direct and control the magistrates, and I well recollect the virtuous indignation of the noble Lord now at the head of Her Majesty's Government on the occasion of the dismissal of certain magistrates for attending the monster Repeal meetings some years ago—I say I well recollect the virtuous indignation with which the noble Lord expressed a hope that it was not true that the Lord Chancellor had acted, not upon his own judgment, but upon the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant. The noble Lord on that occasion expressed a hope that anything so unconstitutional, so irregular, so arbitrary, could not have taken place as that of the Lord Lieutenant venturing to interfere with the functions and authority of the Lord High Chancellor in recommending the dismissal of magistrates. It turned out that that decision was taken by the Lord Chancellor on his own responsibility, without having received any recommendation from the Lord Lieutenant to discharge a duty which strictly belonged to himself. I wonder what the noble Lord at the head 919 of the Government thinks of this case. I wonder whether he will condemn this proceeding with the same emphatic and indignant eloquence as he condemned the supposed proceedings on the part of Sir Edward Sugden? But there is another point with regard to the repeal magistrates to which I beg to call the attention of your Lordships. Those magistrates were forewarned that it was inconsistent with their duty to attend the monster meetings; and that if they persisted in attending them, it would be the duty of the Lord Chancellor to dismiss them. Was any such notice given in this case? Had my noble Friend and the other magistrates the slightest reason to suppose that anything would be said or done to them for acting, as they imagined, in the strict performance of their duty? that in the laudable exercise of their functions, I would say, they would be visited with the severe sentence of an arbitrary dismissal? I would ask, too, whether, upon receiving the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Chancellor read the evidence, considered what had been stated, transmitted copies of the evidence to the magistrates, and asked them what they had to say in their own vindication? No such thing. In the course of the 6th of October the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant seems to have been conveyed to them, accompanied, as far as appears from the papers, by the report of Mr. Berwick, but not accompanied, as far as I can see, by the minutes of the evidence which had been taken by Mr. Berwick; and before the post went out, as if in order to save a day, the Lord Chancellor, as he states, "in accordance with his Excellency's recommendation," proceeded summarily and absolutely, without asking an explanation or waiting for an answer, without even informing himself as to the nature of the evidence upon which the act professed to be founded, to dismiss three magistrates, who had hitherto acted irreproachably—one of them for forty years—in the commission of the peace—a course of proceeding which I maintain is altogether unwarranted and unjustified by precedent, is in abnegation of the functions of the Lord Chancellor, and a degradation of that high officer to the position of a mere tool of the Executive. And, in adopting that degrading position, he did not even think it necessary to go through the forms of justice by asking what the parties had got to say. One would have expected too, that the letter of the Lord Chancellor to 920 my noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) would have been printed verbatim et literatim in the papers presented to this House "by command of Her Majesty," but it is not so. In the printed copy it is stated, "I have to express my regret that I am under the necessity of directing, in accordance with his Excellency's recommendation, that the necessary warrants be prepared," &c; whereas the original document runs thus—" I regret to be under the necessity of informing your Lordship, that in accordance with this Excellency's recommendation, I have directed," &c. I do not mean to say that the alteration is very material; but I do not see why there should have been any variation at all. I can only account for it by supposing that the Lord Chancellor, in his intense eagerness and hurry to act upon the orders of his master the Lord Lieutenant, said to his son, or whatever other relative acts as his secretary—" Let this be done at once. You write to the two commoners, and I'll write to the peer myself." That, being within half-an-hour of losing the post, he had not had time to take a copy of the letter which he transmitted to my noble Friend, and that the copy now printed had, doubtless, been made up from a copy of the letter which his more leisurely secretary wrote to the commoners.
I would now ask the Government what they have gained by these proceedings? Have they established one point of law? Is the law more clear now than it was before these proceedings commenced? An application to the Court of Queen's Bench, as I have shown, might have settled the case; but the dismissal of my noble Friend does not pretend to settle it. Did the dismissal of the three magistrates, on the 6th of October, induce their brother magistrates, on the 9th, to receive the proffered "information?" Did you carry the feeling of the country with you in favour of the judicial, impartial, and deliberate application of the law? Do you not believe, on the contrary, that by the dismissal of these justices by the authority of the Executive, and not by the Lord Chancellor, you have excited a feeling among the remaining magistrates that they are expected henceforth to be subject to and dependent upon the political chief of the day? And do you not feel that you must have alienated them from the administration of the law, and even irritated them against the law which they are called upon to administer? Have you lowered the 921 character and position of my noble Friend who has been so long known for his estimable qualities? So far from having succeeded in that—if that was your object, which I cannot suppose—your arbitrary and unjust dismissal of him, as it has been felt to be, has called forth in my noble Friend's favour an expression of sympathy, kindness, and respect such as may well console any man who has incurred the displeasure of Her Majesty's Government; and I am sure it must be gratifying to him at the close of forty years' faithful service to receive the testimony that the public know and appreciate his conduct. This testimony does not proceed from Orangemen or Protestants alone. A remarkable paper has been placed in my hand, with which I shall not trouble your Lordships, but I may mention that it is a paper signed by the whole board of guardians over whom my noble Friend presides, composed of Catholics and Protestants, in which they not only express their deep regret at the course which had been pursued towards him by the Government, and bear testimony to the able discharge of his duty to the poor, but state that "it is no less their duty than their pleasure to bear witness to his Lordship's strict impartiality as chairman of the board, his conduct having ever been guided by equal justice to all. "And the conclusion of the document is a remarkable one, for, although they have lost the services of my noble Friend as ex officio guardian, they passed a resolution requesting him to retain the chair till the annual election, when Catholic and Protestant would unite to place him in the position of an elected guardian, and restore him to the chairmanship of the board. I am now about to conclude my observations, and I regret that I have been obliged to detain the House at such great length. I only wish, in conclusion, to say one word with respect to the motives which have actuated me in bringing this question forward. I do not know that I should have been inclined to take up the case if the Government had not put forth, in vindication of their proceedings, an explanation, which appeared to me to present such a distorted statement of facts, that the public mind was likely to be misled by it. I do not bring forward this question for the purpose of exciting the animosity of Protestants against Catholics, and Catholics against Protestants; neither do I bring it forward for the purpose of reviving forgotten discussions. I have been actuated 922 solely by a desire to let the truth and the whole truth be known in the matter, and to show the country that however esteemed in their private character, however irreproachable may be the motives of public men in official situations, they are not above the set checks and controls as administered through your Lordships and the other House of Parliament acting through public opinion, if, in the discharge of what they believe to be their duties, they overstep the limits provided by the law and constitution. I may be asked why, if these are my sentiments, I do not move a direct vote of censure against the Government? I abstain from doing so, not because I think that the conduct of Her Majesty's Government is not open to serious imputation, but because I desire, as far as possible, on a great constitutional question like this, to keep apart, as far as possible, from party feelings and party conflicts. I bring this question before your Lordships in a quasi-judicial capacity. I ask your attention simply to the merits of the case. If I have misstated or overstated anything, I shall be glad to be corrected by those who follow me. I ask no Parliamentary triumph in the case. I do not think it would be fair either to the House or to my noble Friend, if I were to place the question before you so as to involve in its decision the acquittal of the Government, or the condemnation of my noble Friend, or the condemnation of the Government and the acquittal of my noble Friend, feeling, as I do, that, with every desire to do justice, you could not help being influenced by party feelings, in deciding a question which comes in the shape of censure upon Government, and that the question would be decided not upon its own merits, or with reference to the hardship of the case of my noble Friend, but simply with regard to the point as to whether the Government should submit to a political defeat. These are the grounds for confining myself to my present Motion. I ask for further information in the case—because I think further information necessary—and because, after this discussion and the production of the papers, the public will have an opportunity of judging whether the dismissal of which I complain was politic, judicious, or just; or whether it was an impolitic, unjust, and arbitrary act on the part of the Government. The noble Lord concluded by moving—That there be laid before this House copies of Correspondence between the chief magistrate of Armagh and the Executive Government in the 923 months of June and July, 1848; also, Copies of any instructions to the constabulary in reference to any processions expected to take place on the 12th of July last; and of instructions to the stipendiary magistrates who were specially sent down to Castlewellan before that day; also, Copy of official communications from the stipendiary magistrates and constabulary officers as to the proceedings on the 12th July, 1849, in any part of Ulster; also, Copy of instructions to W. Berwick, Esq., accompanying the commission of the 27th of July, 1849; also Copy of affidavits of John Jardine and John Porter, filed in the Court of Queen's Bench in the Hilary Term last, and of the report annexed to the affidavit of John Porter, and verified thereby; and, also, Copy of any official report to the Lord Lieutenant or the Lord Chancellor of Ireland of the procedings at the petty sessions held at Castlewellan on the 11th of September and the 9th of October, 1849.
§ The EARL of CLARENDON
My Lords, before I proceed to offer a few remarks upon the speech of my noble Friend who has just sat clown, your Lordships will perhaps permit me to express a hope that my presence here this evening may not be considered as constituting a precedent. I am here this evening at a serious inconvenience to the public business of Ireland, in order to defend an act of the Executive Government; and I have done so because I understood my noble Friend (Lord Stanley), in giving notice of his Motion, and the noble Earl who spoke after him (the Earl of Roden), threw out a sort of challenge to me to appear in my place on this occasion, and I thought it might be unbecoming in me to decline it, or that, at all events, my declining it might render my conduct liable to misconstruction. But I did not determine to come without much doubt and reflection, because I thought it would be injurious to the public service, and to the position, always more or less an anomalous one, of Her Majesty's representative in Ireland, if the Lord Lieutenant were expected to appear here in his place upon every occasion when any noble Lord might think fit to require his attendance to explain the acts of the Executive Government in Ireland. If such should become the practice, the result would he, that when party spirit ran high (degenerating, as it too often does, into personal questions), it would be impossible for the Lord Lieutenant to maintain the position and prestige which are essential to his authority in the performance of the multifarious duties which he is called upon to discharge. I had, however, determined to come, before I had the honour to receive a letter from the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) stating that there 924 was certain matter in the papers laid before the House reflecting upon his character, and that he would not like to make his statement in reply in my absence. But I beg to assure your Lordships that even if I had determined not to come, the assurance that my presence was in any way necessary for the vindication of the noble Earl's honour or character, would have been quite sufficient to make me alter that decision. Upon public grounds, however, I again express a hope that my presence may not be considered as constituting a precedent, although, so far as I am individually concerned, I cannot regret the opportunity of meeting any of those charges or misrepresentations with which, for the last three or four months, I have been perseveringly assailed. I entirely agree with my noble Friend, that no man, whatever his rank or authority in the State, is above the public opinion of this country, and I am, therefore, not sorry that the question has been brought before your Lordships, as by narrating certain facts and supplying certain deficiencies in the narrative of my noble Friend, I trust I shall be able to place your Lordships in a position of judging whether the Irish Government has committed, as my noble Friend says, an act unjust, arbitrary, and unconstitutional, or whether the dismissal of the magistrates was an act rendered imperative by the circumstances of the case, and was unavoidable in the interests of society, for upholding the authority of the law, and maintaining confidence in the impartial administration of justice. In order to enable your Lordships better to understand the case, and the circumstances connected with it, I will in the first place briefly refer to what has taken place since the expiration of the Act of 1832 for restraining Party Processions in Ireland. That Act was introduced, was first introduced, by my noble Friend (Lord Stanley), then Secretary for Ireland, who stated at the time that every one of these processions, as they had all a tendency to break the peace, was a misdemeanour by common law. The Act was renewed by the 1st and 2nd Victoria, and, unfortunately in my opinion, this Act was permitted to expire towards the close of 1845 without renewal. Since that period party processions have no longer been ipso facto illegal; but they have always been looked upon, like other assemblages, as being liable to become so according to the character they assumed. If they led to a breach of the peace, or 925 even if they were calculated to inspire reasonable terror in the minds of Her Majesty's peaceful subjects, they at once became unlawful, and were liable to be dispersed, and the parties forming them punishable for a misdemeanour. I believe that is the opinion of every sound and constitutional lawyer, as well as that of Judge Jebb, which was quoted by my noble Friend, in introducing his Bill in 1832. But not being ipso facto illegal since 1845, party demonstrations have not been treated as such by the authorities; as they were, however, from their character, considered more likely than other assemblages to endanger the public peace, so more than ordinary precautions were taken by the authorities for the maintenance of order on such occasions, the responsibility of dealing with the processions being left to the magistrates, as it was impossible to provide by specific instructions for the various circumstances and contingencies under which the magistracy might be called upon to interfere. In 1845, the year that the Party Processions Act was allowed to expire, very few processions took place. They were discouraged very generally by the gentlemen who had influence with the Orange body Lord Farnham, in an admirable letter, said—I have on former occasions given them my advice to abstain from their annual processions, in obedience to the law of the land. Now that the 'Party Processions Act' has expired, I would "till impress upon them the fact—and repeat my firm impression of its truth—that it is impossible for them to hold their processions without endangering the peace of the country, and putting themselves into a false position, at variance with their character as loyal Protestants—anxious, while they retain their principles unabated, to maintain the public peace, and to live on terms of good will and friendship with their neighbours.The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Roden) also exerted himself to the same effect, I believe in 1845. About that time the case of Mr. Watson occurred, who was dismissed from the deputy lieutenancy of the county of Antrim, as well as from the commission of the peace, for having taken the chair at a meeting where a resolution was passed for reorganising Orange lodges and Orange processions. On that occasion Mr. Lucas, who was then Under Secretary, wrote an excellent letter on the subject, and stated the principle on which the Lord Lieutenant acted—namely, that he could not reconcile the course taken by Mr. Watson at the meeting in Antrim with his duty as a deputy lieutenant and magistrate, 926 as the proceedings at it had led to a serious affray, which led to the loss of life, and which in several respects tended to excite a breach of the peace: under such circumstances, his Excellency felt bound to deprive him as far as he could of any authority in the administration of justice; he had, therefore, given directions to remove him from the deputy lieutenancy: the Lord Chancellor also had under his consideration the propriety of removing him from the magistracy. I quote this case in order to show that the course which was pursued within the last few months by the Irish Government, and which my noble Friend has characterised in very strong terms as unjust, illegal, and unconstitutional, was the same course as that pursued by the Government of 1845, of which my noble Friend opposite (Lord Stanley) was a Member. In 1846, before the 17th of March, a memorial was sent to Lord Heytesbury by four magistrates of the county of Down, stating that a party of Ribandmen was about to march in procession, and that such march would be resisted, and that very great danger was apprehended both to the peace of the neighbourhood and the lives of Her Majesty's subjects. The Lord Lieutenant, in consequence of that memorial, adopted the necessary precautions, and no procession took place; but it appears that three out of the four magistrates who signed that memorial to Lord Heytesbury were on the bench at Castlewellan, in September last, and refused to take the information which was tendered to them against the Orangemen for marching exactly under similar circumstances of danger to the public peace as those described in the memorial, and after the serious affray had taken place. In 1847 there were a very few processions. In 1848, in consequence of the political excitement then prevailing, more than usual demonstrations of party feeling were to be expected. I can assure my noble Friend that there is nothing which he could say that I would not say with respect to the conduct of the whole Protestant party in assisting the Government to keep the peace in 1848, particularly in the province of Ulster, and in offering their services in any possible way that the Government desired. This, however, had nothing to do with the party processions. I knew that these demonstrations would take place I knew that such processions, leading to a breach of the peace might occasion very great alarm; and I did take 927 very unusual precautions with regard to them. I sent large reinforcements of military and upwards of 500 constabulary into the north; and I think that is a proof that I did not wish to encourage these processions. I knew that they were not ipso facto illegal, and I did not therefore forbid them altogether, but I took more than ordinary precautions that they should not lead to a breach of the peace; and as to the knowledge which existed of the circumstances which rendered such demonstrations illegal, I may mention that a magistrate of the county Donegal wrote to say, that the Orange procession having come armed, the magistrates, of whom there were six present, compelled them to leave their arms in a house by the wayside, before they marched further, it being their opinion that an armed procession was decidedly illegal. In 1848 an Orange procession assembled for the purpose of going over this disputed pass of Dolly's Brae; but, having heard that their passage would be disputed, Mr. Francis Beers interfered, and by his persuasion they took another route. Unfortunately, in 1849, Messrs. F. and W. Beers neglected that warning, and the good effects that had resulted from attention to it in the preceding year, and deliberately prearranged and sanctioned a passage over that old road, although they had 12 months' notice that it would probably lead to a breach of the peace; and they did so it appears because the Riband party had considered the not going over Dolly's Brae a triumph, and had celebrated it by a song. A great deal of party excitement having taken place in the winter of 1848, I sent down considerable reinforcements to the county of Down, and more particularly to those parts of the county where I understood that danger was to be apprehended. The peace was maintained; but at Crossgar a collision took place attended with the loss of two lives; and in consequence of previous outrages in the county not having been followed by the arrest of any of the parties, the resident magistrate was informed that those persons belonging to either party who offended against the law must be actively pursued, and, if possible, brought to trial. Some of these persons were in consequence arrested and committed, and a Queen's Counsel was sent down to conduct the prosecution. At the quarter-sessions of Newtonard, where they were tried, it was most clearly and" distinctly laid down by the assistant barrister, that 928 the procession of the 17th of March was illegal, as it tended to a breach of the peace; but nevertheless the jury acquitted the prisoners. Later, at the Hillsborough quarter-sessions, the law was again laid down in the same clear and explicit manner as to what constituted an illegal procession, and there the prisoners were convicted. Again, on the 10th of July the law was once more explained in the same clear manner, and the jury again found the prisoners guilty. I mention this because, those men having been arrested, three very distinct occasions had occurred of making known exactly what was the law with regard to these processions; and, as all these proceedings were published in the local newspapers, it was impossible that the legal opinion upon the subject should not be known. Matters stood thus at the commencement of July, and as I had reason to believe that numerous party demonstrations would take place, I sent down military and police to various parts of the country, and to the county of Down I sent seven sub-inspectors, seven head-constables, and 250 police. Several of the most experienced stipendiary magistrates were directed to repair to certain spots, and place themselves in communication with the local magistrates; and to prevent confusion the military were placed under their orders; and several of the best detective officers were sent into the neighbourhood to obtain private information as to the nature of the demonstration. In fact, my Lords, as I superintended all these arrangements myself, I can conscientiously say that no precaution which the Government could have taken beforehand for the preservation of the peace was neglected. But it is said, that the Government had abundant information of what was going to take place, and that these processions ought to have been stopped altogether. The fact, however, is, that the Government had no such special information. Towards the end of June, Sir D. M'Gregor, the inspector general of constabulary, wrote to all the inspectors, and other chief officers, of police in the north, desiring them to report what processions were expected, whether they were likely to lead to a breach of the peace, and what reinforcements would be required. The replies received were from the county inspectors, who said generally that there would be large processions, and that reinforcements would be required—for Sub-inspector Hill, who spoke of a breach of the 929 peace being apprehended, as the procession was to go through a Roman Catholic district, to Tollymore-park; and accordingly an extra number of troops and police, together with a stipendiary magistrate, were sent to Castlewellan, but no mention was made of Dolly's Brae, the name even of which pass was unknown to any official person in Dublin; nor was it in the district of Mr. Hill, and the sub-inspector, in whose district it was, made no mention of the contemplated movement. My noble Friend alluded to Mr. Scott, a justice of the peace of the county of Down. On the 29th of June, he waited upon Mr. Redington, the Under Secretary, and expressed a fear that there would be a riot, but without any allusion to the pass of Dolly's Brae. Mr. Scott, however, was informed of the precautions that were about to be taken, and he went away perfectly satisfied. I think your Lordships will therefore see that every possible precaution was taken, and, as no special danger was apprehended, and all the information received was of a general character, there was no reason for departing from the usual course, or to give special instructions to the stipendiary magistrates, which would have hampered their discretion in dealing with circumstances as they arose. Those stipendiary magistrates were among the very best and most experienced of the body. Military—both cavalry and infantry—and police were at their disposal, which might easily be reinforced from Downpatrick, and elsewhere, if they thought it necessary; and it would have been impossible to issue a proclamation, or by other means, to prevent this particular procession, of the nature, extent, and objects, of which nothing was known. The same must have been done for all parts of the country where danger was apprehended, and reinforcements had been sent; it would have been an unusual practice, at the last moment, when the arrangements for processions had been made; it would have been certain to produce irritation and resistance, and probably have incurred the collisions it was intended to avert. In further proof that no special danger was apprehended, I may also mention that when Mr. Tabuteau the stipendiary magistrate reached Castlewellan on the 11th of July and placed himself in communication with Mr. Shaw, the local justice residing there, that gentleman expressed his surprise at the military police and stipendiary magistrate having come, and wondered who had applied for the 930 force, although he must have then known that the procession was to go over Dolly's Brae; and that notwithstanding it had avoided the disputed pass the year before, he had thought it necessary to call out the military for the preservation of the peace. In consequence, however, of what he had learned in the neighbourhood, Mr. Tabuteau, on the 11th of July, waited on the noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Roden), and stated to him that he had received information that, if the procession went over Dolly's Brae, there would be a breach of the peace, and that it was his intention to take possession of the pass; but I believe the noble Earl did not think that any particular precautions were required. On the morning of the 12th, W. Fitzmaurice, the other stipendiary magistrate, together with Mr. Scott, went to Baleyward, the residence of Mr. F. Beers, and having learnt from the inspectors of police that a collision was to be apprehended at Dolly's Brae, represented to that magistrate the propriety of dissuading the Orangemen from going through the disputed pass; but in vain, as Mr. Beers disclaimed having any influence over them, and said, that no human power could prevent their proceeding by the old road. Under these circumstances, Captain Fitzmaurice did not think it prudent to interfere to prevent the procession. In this particular, I think he committed an error; still I think it a venial error, because, if he had proceeded in forcibly interfering with the procession in defiance of their leader, who was himself a magistrate, if any collision had taken place, the whole blame of that collision, the bloodshed, and all the evil consequences, would have been laid upon the officers of the Government; for it would have been said that the procession had passed off peaceably in other parts of the country, but it was in consequence of the unnecessary interference of the Government that the bloodshed had taken place. A large body of the Ribandmen were posted on the hill, but by the judicious arrangements of the police, no collision took place. The magistrates, however, were so convinced that it would be unsafe to return that way, that they despatched Captain Fitzmaurice to represent that to the noble Earl, and request his interference to induce the procession to return some other way. The object and result of his mission is stated in Mr. Berwick's report as follows:—Mr. Fitzmaurice proceeded at once to Tollymore-park, 931 where he saw the Orange body arrive and pass in procession, with their arms and banners, in front of Lord Roden's mansion, where they were received by his Lordship, decorated with an Orange scarf, and accompanied by the members of his family and some friends, several of whom were Orange ribands and badges; after which they proceeded to a field belonging to his Lordship, where a tent had been pitched, and a platform erected, and some provision made for their entertainment. Mr. Fitzmaurice was introduced to Lord Roden, and communicated to him the fact that an armed body was posted in the neighbourhood of the old road, and his dread of a collision on the return of the Orangemen, and begged that his Lordship would use his influence with the Orange party to return another way. He made the same communication to several of the apparent leaders of the Orange party. Lord Roden, in reply, informed him that he feared he had not himself sufficient influence to effect the object, but that he would speak to the party, and also to Mr. William Beers, on the subject. He did accordingly speak to Mr. William Beers; but, having been informed by that gentleman that, if any change were made in the route, a split might take place in the body, which would cause greater risk to the public peace, he was contented with this reason; and, although he saw that the Orange lodges which came from Castlewellan and Ballyward were armed, while those which came from some other quarters were not so, he did not, in the address which he delivered to the Orange body, make any reference to this subject. It appears, also, that Mr. William Beers never did himself make the slightest attempt to influence the Orange body to go home by the new road, but, on the contrary, advised them to return by the same way by which they had come; although he admitted, in his evidence before me, that it was possible the Orange body might have been induced to take his advice, if given, and go homo by a different way.Mr. Berwick goes on to say—No step was taken during the day to disperse this illegal body, nor was any attempt made to arrest their leaders. In explanation of this, the magistrates informed me that they thought it more prudent not then to attempt to disperse them, fearing that, if they resisted, lives might be lost; and even if they did not, that they would divide into straggling bodies, and thus more easily provoke a collision with the Orangemen, where the police or troops would be unable to interpose. The two Roman Catholic clergymen appear to have exerted themselves without effect to induce this body to return to their homes; and in the course of the day some bread was supplied to them by the Rev. Mr. Morgan, to hinder them, as he alleged, from going into the public-houses and becoming intoxicated. This body appears to have considerably increased during the day by the addition of a number of the inhabitants of the immediate neighbourhood, some of whom appear to have joined them from curiosity, and some who shut up their houses and came there, as they alleged, for protection. In the evening, the Orange party, having remained about two hours at Lord Roden's, did return, and took the old road through Dolly's Brae, and passed it in safety, and cheered after they passed. Nothing, however, occurred to excite alarm, except the taunts of a number of 932 women collected on the roadside, who told thorn they were prisoners, and would catch it before they passed Magheramayo-hill. The Orange procession, some of whose members appear not to have been so peaceably conducted as in the morning, was preceded, as before, by a body of police, and the rear was also protected by another body of police, and by the Dragoons. On arriving at the point of the road immediately under the brow of Magheramayo-hill, where the opposing force was strongly intrenched, the police who were in front drew up along the side of the road, and stopped to allow the Orange procession to march past, which they did without interruption. Unfortunately, after the whole body had passed forward, and while the police were in the act of forming again to follow them, a squib or blank shot was fired, but from which party I am unable to say; several trustworthy witnesses having stated their belief that it came from the rear of the Orange party, and others equally credible having stated that it came from a place on the hill, about half-way between the Riband party there posted on the road. Almost immediately after this occurrence, two shots were fired; and, as contradictory evidence was offered to show from which party they came, I shall only say that the weight of the evidence appeared to me to favour the opinion that they were fired by two of the Riband party, posted on the hill, at the Orange body.It will be found that—Immediately afterwards, a volley was discharged from the main body on the hill, which appeared to have been indiscriminately directed at police, military, and Orangemen, and the firing from both sides then became general. It was then deemed necessary, and I think wisely, to dislodge the body posted on the heights; and accordingly the police, under Mr. Hill, charged up to and gained the first entrenchment, firing as they ascended at the men who were placed behind it. Immediately after it was carried, the body there posted fled, and the police, who had fired in all only eighteen shots, ceased firing, and took a number of prisoners, among whom were five wounded. Several of the prisoners were found crouching, with arms beside them, behind the walls.In the meantime a body of 100 or 200 of the Orange party had dashed up the hill transversely towards the same quarter, firing shots at the retreating body on the hill, and the police were for some time in considerable danger, being placed between two fires; they, however, threw themselves between the two parties as soon as they could, and stopped the advance of the Orange party, and, in my opinion, prevented a very great loss of life, which must have occurred if the two parties had come to closer quarters. While this was going on above, I lament to say that the work of retaliation both on life and property by the Orange party was proceeding lower down the hill, and along the side of the road, in a most brutal and wanton manner, reflecting the deepest disgrace on all by whom it was perpetrated or encouraged. One little boy, ten years old, was deliberately fired at, and shot, while running across a field. Mr. Fitzmaurice stopped a man in the act of firing at a girl who was rushing from her father's house. An old woman of seventy was murdered, and the scull of an idiot was beaten in with the butts of their muskets.933 [An expression of dissent from Lord STANLEY.] My noble Friend seems to doubt this; but Mr. Janns, sub-inspector of police, stales, in his evidence, that the scull of the unfortunate Sweeny was beaten in with the butts of their muskets, and that corresponds with the account given before the coroner, Mr. Berwick goes on to say—Another old woman was severely beaten in her house; while another, who was subsequently saved by the police, was much injured, and left in her house, which had been set on fire. An inoffensive man was taken out of his house, dragged to his garden, and stabbed to death, by three men with bayonets, in the sight of some of his family. The Roman Catholic chapel, the house of the Roman Catholic curate, and the National School-house, were fired into, and the windows broken, and a number of the surrounding houses of the Roman Catholic inhabitants were set on fire and burnt, every article of furniture having been first wantonly destroyed therein; and had it not been for the active interference of magistrates and the troops, much more lose of life and property would undoubtedly have taken place.Mr. Berwick further adds—Before I close this report I think it my duty to make some observations relative to the conduct of those to whose care the protection of the public peace on that day was entrusted, which appear to me necessary for your Excellency's information, and useful to prevent the future recurrence of such calamitous and disgraceful procerdings. And with respect to the police engaged on that day, I have only to say, that, considering the circumstances in which they were placed, they appear to have acted, in the discharge of their duty, with courage, coolness, and forbearance; and I conceive they were successful in preventing a great sacrifice of human life. But after the most anxious consideration which I can give to this case, believing, as I do, that the magistrates who took part in the transactions of that day could have adopted a line of conduct which would have prevented the outrages then perpetrated, and which the information they possessed ought to have suggested to their minds, I cannot avoid noticing the grievous error thus committed, where the consequences have been so formidable to the public peace. I entirely acquit them of any intentional disregard to the loss of life or property; and I feel persuaded that from the time the conflict commenced all present were engaged and instrumental in preventing outrage, and protecting, to the best of their power, both parties from injury. But in all their previous proceedings they appear to have acted under a great misunderstanding of the nature of their duties—some of them to such an extent as actually to give countenance and protection to persons engaged in proceedings at variance with the law.And, my Lords, I can only repeat that party processions not being ipso facto illegal, but liable to become so, it must be left to the discretion of the magistrates to determine in what way and at what time it is necessary for them, as conservators of 934 the public peace, to interfere for its maintenance; and, if a magistrate allows the peace to be endangered or disturbed, and, through want of firmness or error of judgment, fails to preserve it, that conduct should be dealt with as it appears to deserve, if he deliberately abstains from taking any part to prevent its being disturbed. But if he prearranges and sanctions a meeting which he knows must lead to danger, and afterwards, when that danger is pointed out, again does nothing to prevent it, I think no one can deny that such a magistrate is unworthy to remain in the commission of the peace. Your Lordships must well remember the painful sensation that was created in the country by the news of the fatal events at Dolly's Brae, and the various discussions they gave rise to in the House of Commons, which induced the noble Earl opposite to come from Ireland and to make a statement in this House. Public opinion was only pacified by the assurance which the Government gave, that a full inquiry should take place into all the circumstances of the case. I selected Mr. Berwick to conduct that inquiry, because he was a Queen's Counsel and assistant barrister of great experience, who had, during the space of fourteen years, conducted his business as assistant barrister to the entire satisfaction of the Government, the magistracy of the district, and the public at large. I knew, moreover, that he was by no means a party man, but a man of a thoroughly impartial mind, as well as of a most mild and conciliatory disposition; and, though my noble Friend has dealt most severely, and I must say most unjustly, by him, I am perfectly convinced that amongst the many eminent men now at the Irish bar, there is none who is better qualified to conduct such an inquiry as this that was intrusted to him in a more able and impartial manner. I believe I may say that he was considered, by persons on the spot at the time, to have conducted the inquiry in the fairest and ablest manner. One of the charges made by my noble Friend was, that Mr. Berwick had presumed to go to Castlewellan, and to offer his advice to the magistrates, and he expressed a desire to know why he had so gone. I will tell my noble Friend why, because he had learned that the magistrates of Castlewellan had complained, and loudly complained, that they had not had the opinion of the law advisers of the Crown as to the real legal view of the case. Upon that account Mr. Berwick interfered. 935 On the 17th of July, five days after the occurrence at Dolly's Brae, and whilst the investigation was proceeding at Castlewellan, the magistrates directed their chairman, Mr. Shaw, to send up to the Government the following letter:—Castlewellan, July 17,1849.At a petty session held at Castlewellan this day, ten magistrates being present, to inquire into certain transactions which took place in this neighbourhood on the 12th of July instant, it was determined to ask for the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, whether an assemblage of Orangemen amounting to 1,500 persons, partly armed with firearms, proceeding along the road decorated with ribands, is an illegal assemblage, and liable to have informations taken against such as can be identified as walking in it, although no particular act of violence can be proved against them. And, if the Crown should be of opinion that such procession is illegal, that they shall direct the police to take the necessary steps to make the persons known to have walked in the procession that passed Dolly's Brae on the last 12th of July, and which subsequently came into collision with an opposing party called Ribandmen, amenable to justice.GEORGE SHAW, J. P., Chairman.The opinion of the Attorney General in answer to that was, "I have no doubt but that such a meeting is illegal." That opinion was sent to Mr. Shaw. On the 12th of September the following letter was received by the Lord Lieutenant from Mr. Quinn, a justice of the peace of the county of Down:—Dromore-house, County of Down,September 12, 1849.My Lord—At the investigation which took place before the magistrates at Castlewellan on the 17th of July last, it was resolved to ask from the Crown an opinion as to the legality of Orange processions. In accordance with that resolution, a statement (of which I annex a copy) was drawn up by me in open court, and handed to Mr. Tabuteau, one of the stipendiary magistrates then present, for transmission to the Castle, when signed by the chairman, Mr. Shaw. At the special petty session held yesterday at Castlewellan, on an inquiry being made as to whether an answer had been received from the law adviser of the Crown, the petty sessions clerk of Castlewellan and Mr. Shaw, the former chairman, denied that any answer to that communication had ever been received by the bench. Now, I most respectfully beg leave to inquire whether any answer has been sent, and if sent its contents; and, if not yet forwarded, the reason of the delay, as it would have been of great importance to the inquiry yesterday.—I have,"&c.JOHN H. QUINN, J. P., County of Down.Mr. Quinn was then informed that that letter had been answered upon the 21st of July; and his letter was sent to Mr. Shaw, with a request that he would communicate, for the information of his Excellency, any observations that he might have to make 936 on the subject. To that communication Mr. Shaw replied—Castlewellan, Sept. 18, 1849.Sir—In reply to your letter I beg to state, for the information of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, that I had not the slightest recollection, at the meeting of the last bench of magistrates here, of the letter alluded to by Mr. Quinn as having been written, or of having received an answer. From some circumstances which have been since brought to my memory, I now recollect the answer having been received. What became of it I cannot state, but I think cither Mr. Tabuteau or Captain Fitzmaurice got it.—I am, &c.GEORGE SHAW.Mr. Redington then wrote to those two gentlemen requesting the information from them. Mr. Tabuteau answered—Waterford, September 27, 1849.In reply to your communication of the 20th inst., enclosing the copy of a correspondence with Mr. Shaw of Castlewellan, relative to an opinion of the Attorney General, addressed to him on the 21st of July last, I have the honour to say, that I have a distinct recollection of being handed that document to read while standing in the street of Castlewellan, and, after reading it, handing it back to the gentleman who gave it to me to read, and who, to the best of my recollection, was Mr. Shaw. I have not that document in my possession, nor had I it in my possession longer than it took me to read. I never saw it afterwards.J. TABUTEAU.Mr. Fitzmaurice writes—Roscrea, September 26, 1849.In reply to the annexed communication, I have the honour to state, for his Excellency's information, that I never even saw the document alluded to by Mr. Shaw. I merely heard that Mr. Shaw, as chairman of the meeting of magistrates held at Castlewellan on Saturday, the 14th of July last, had received the law adviser's opinion, that the procession of the 12th of July at Dolly's Brae was illegal." G. FITZMAURICE, R. M.Now, my Lords, I hope you will consider that that was a satisfactory reason—the magistrates having complained of being left in ignorance of the law, appealing to the Crown, and an answer having been given by the Crown, that answer being suppressed by the chairman—I say I hope you will consider that a reason why Mr. Berwick should state what the law was to the magistrates of Castlewellan. Lord Roden was chairman on that occasion, and although I am sure he must have thought himself properly exercising his functions, yet I cannot forbear saying that I regretted that he should have been present, or rather have taken the part he did on that occasion, for the question to be decided was one in which he was personally concerned—the question whether the assemblage was legal or illegal, was one 937 which made the whole difference in his case, and to decide himself that it was not so, and possibly to lead others by the declaration of his opinions in no very measured language, to come to the same conclusion, in despite of the high legal and judicial opinions recently delivered upon the very case, was a course which, I think upon reflection, he must have regretted; because, if it were of general application, it would unquestionably destroy confidence in the impartial administration of justice by the magistracy. I am far from saying that he was bound to abide by the legal and judicial opinions I have adverted to. I should never cast blame on a magistrate for acting on his own unfettered judgment; he had the fullest right to do so, and I have lately stated this in answer to a memorial signed by 60,000 persons, asking for the dismissal of the magistrates who refused to take the informations at Castle-wellan. But to sit in judgment upon what the public consider his own cause, is what a magistrate cannot do with safety to his own reputation.
My Lords, when Mr. Berwick's report came into my hands, it caused me the utmost regret, for I read it with the eyes and feelings of a friend; and most happy should I have been if I had found in it the materials for exonerating the noble Earl, but I could not. I communicated my opinion to my noble Friend at the head of Her Majesty's Government, from whom and his colleagues, including the noble Lord on the woolsack, it received the most anxious and careful consideration. The result was that they agreed with me on the necessity of superseding the noble Earl and the Messrs. Beer in the commission of the peace; and, my Lords, I am not ashamed of saying that it was the most painful act of my life. I had long been honoured with the friendship of the noble Earl. From the moment that I had gone to Ireland, until then, I had received from him the most unvarying and useful kindness. I felt the most sincere respect and personal esteem for him. I know how much his dismissal would be resented by his numerous friends, and the unpopularity I should earn for myself even among those who were not his friends, throughout the north of Ireland. I felt and I foresaw all that; but still there was one feeling superior to every other—a feeling of duty; a feeling from which I did not venture to shrink, and by which I need not assure your Lordships I was alone actuated 938 in the course that I adopted. Ever since the government of Ireland was confided to my care, my great object has been to render the law a reality—to inspire all classes of the community with confidence in the impartial administration of justice—to convince them that before the law all men were equal—and that, whether high or low, rich or poor, the same measure of justice should be meted out to all. I should then indeed have felt ashamed of myself, and unworthy the confidence of my Sovereign, if I had dealt differently with the noble Earl from any any other man; or if I had allowed for one moment my personal inclinations to interfere with what I believed to be just and necessary. I fear, my Lords, that the noble Earl is of opinion that other and improper motives influenced me, because I have perceived, in some of his answers to addresses, that besides characterising his dismissal in terms which to him no doubt appeared just, he has stated that his dismissal was a blow aimed at Protestantism in his person, and that all Protestants were in danger, as there was a conspiracy to overthrow their religion. Now, passing by the total want of proof of this either before or subsequent to the events of the 12th of July, and that I will defy any unprejudiced man to adduce the slightest evidence of any such conspiracy, I must assure the noble Earl that I yield to no man in my attachment to the Protestant religion, and that I am as incapable as himself not only of lending myself to any conspiracy, but to any act directly or indirectly militating against the true interests of the Protestant faith. But nothing can induce me to believe that the true interests of Protestantism, and the mild and pure doctrines of Christianity, are not endangered by assemblages that are meant to irritate, and by proceedings that must engender bitter and hostile and un-Christian feelings among those classes of our fellow-countrymen from whose creed we differ, but whose conscientious feelings we are bound to respect, and have no possible right to outrage. The question of religion or politics no more entered into my mind in deciding upon the case of the noble Earl, than if the occurrences which led to his dismissal had taken place in some sequestered village of England. The question simply was, whether the meeting was legal or illegal—did the magistrates do their duty, or fail in their duty—were sufficient precautions taken to prevent a fatal collision—and, if not, were they properly to be 939 held responsible? That was the whole question; and I hope the noble Lord will dismiss from his mind the idea that I was influenced by any considerations of a different character. My noble Friend has taken great exception to the mode in which the inquiry was conducted by Mr. Berwick; and, first, with regard to the nature of this inquiry, if it were unconstitutional, as the noble Lord says, it has, at all events, had the sanction of practice in Ireland; and it has had the sanction not only of successive Governments but of successive Parliaments, because the evidence and the decisions taken and pronounced under such inquiries have constantly been made the subject of debate. I have got some of the cases in which inquiries have been made of a similar character. The following letter showed one instance:—Dublin Castle, Dec. 22, 1830.Sir—I am directed by the Lords Justices to inform you, that Louis Perrin, Esq., one of Her Majesty's counsel, has received directions forthwith to proceed to Lurgan, for the purpose of investigating into all the circumstances connected with the outrage which took place at Maghery on the 22nd ult. I am further to acquaint you that it is Mr. Perrin's intention to reach Lurgan on Monday next, on which day their Excellencies trust you will attend at Lurgan and render Mr. Perrin every assistance in your power in the investigation alluded to.—I have, &c.W. GREGORY.W. J. Hancock, Esq., Lurgan.I find another letter, dated "Dublin Castle, April 4, 1832," signed by Sir W. Gossett, and addressed to Mr. Crampton, the Solicitor General:—Sir—I beg to send you, by command of the Lord Lieutenant, the several letters mentioned in the enclosed schedule relative to party riots which have occurred during the last month in the neighbourhood of Portglenone, and as it is deemed expedient that an investigation should take place, I am directed by his Excellency to request that you will proceed, at your earliest convenience, to Portglenone for that purpose, and report the result of your investigation for his Excellency's information.If such inquiries are neither judicial, nor ministerial, nor constitutional, it was nevertheless true that these things had been done by my noble Friend (Lord Stanley), then the Secretary for Ireland. Again, instructions were given to Mr. Serjeant Howley, to make inquiry into certain matters relating to Lord Northland, and others, as well as the circumstances connected with riotous proceedings at the Dungarvon election. These inquiries have been authorised by 'successive Governments and Parliaments 940 down to the present day; and with such precedents as these before me, on what possible ground could I have refused to act upon them, and so get rid of the promises which had been made to Parliament with reference to the public peace in Ireland? It would have been a mockery had I declined to take the steps necessary to enable me to fulfil the anticipations which Parliament was entitled to entertain. My noble Friend says I had no right to issue a commission of the peace to any person under the circumstances, giving him authority to examine on oath; and he quoted the opinion of a lawyer (which, however—the learned Gentleman speaking on the noble Lord's side—I do not reckon of authority), stating that a person taking an oath before Mr. Berwick could not be indicted for perjury. But knowing how the law stood, I made Mr. Berwick a magistrate for the county of Down; and he had as full power, and as good a right, to examine on oath as any other magistrate. My noble Friend alluded to the Act 5th and 6th William IV., c. 62. I beg your Lordships' attention to the 13th Section, which was cited as proving that Mr. Berwick had no right as a magistrate to tender an oath. The section says—And whereas a practice has prevailed of administering and receiving oaths and affidavits voluntarily taken and made in matters not the subject of any judicial inquiry, nor in anywise pending, or at issue before the justice of the peace, or other person by whom such oaths or affidavits have been administered or received; and whereas doubts have arisen whether or not such proceeding is illegal; for the more effectual suppression of such practice and removing such doubts, be it enacted, that from and after the commencement of this Act it shall not be lawful for any justice of the peace, or other person, to administer, or cause or allow to be administered, or to receive, or cause or allow to he received any oath, affidavit, or solemn affirmation touching any matter or thing whereof such justice or other person hath not jurisdiction or cognisance by some statute in force at the time being.On that passage my noble Friend relies when he argues that Mr. Berwick, having no jurisdiction, had no right to put parties on oath. But there the noble Lord stopped short, and gave your Lordships to understand that the law was as he had quoted it; now the clause goes on to state an important provision:—Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to extend to any oath affidavit, or solemn affirmation before any justice in any matter or thing touching the preservation of the peace, or the prosecution, trial, or punishment of offences, or touching any proceedings before either of the Houses of Parliament.941 But this is not all. Mr. Berwick, like any other magistrate, was in possession of the commission of the peace; and your Lordships will judge whether under that commission Mr. Berwick had not authority. Amongst various other things, it authorises parties to inquire—of those who presume, by unlawful assemblies, to be disturbers of our peace, and of our people within our said county; and, also, of all those who, in the county aforesaid, have either gone or ridden, or that hereafter shall presume to go or ride, in companies, with armed force against our peace, to the disturbance of our peace; and, also, of all those who, in like manner, have lain in wait, or hereafter shall presume to he in wait, to maim or kill our people.The terms of his commission, therefore, most certainly conferred on Mr. Berwick the right to hold such an inquiry. My noble Friend dwelt with great severity, with great injustice, I think, on the manner in which Mr. Berwick conducted the inquiry. But I should wish to advert, first, to what my noble Friend states as to the Lord Chancellor not being consulted. I should searcely have thought my noble Friend would have occupied the time of the House so much upon what he must know is a mere form; and, if he were correct in point of fact, I do not admit that he is right in the principle he lays down. First, it is my duty to institute inquiry. Having received a report and the evidence, and finding that the conduct of certain magistrates is inculpated, I send that report, with my opinion, to the Lord Chancellor. And what is it that I do? Do I instruct? Do I order? No, my Lords, I recommend. It remained for him to act on that recommendation; he might have refused. The first thing I did on receiving the report was to have it sent wholly to the Lord Chancellor, without telling him what was the opinion I had formed. I found that he had come to the same conclusion with myself. We then conferred on the matter, even before I communicated with my noble Friend at the head of the Government; and when blame is imputed to the Lord Chancellor for sending off the intimation of his resolution in the matter only a day or two after it was put formally into his hands, the real state of the case, I must observe, was, that no time was necessary for him, his mind having been made up. But I have received a letter from the Lord Chancellor, in which he says—I have heard that it is to be alleged or suggested, in the approaching discussion respecting the dismissal of Lord Roden and the Messrs. 942 Beers from the commission of the peace, that from the terms of my letter announcing to them my determination to supersede them, it is to be inferred that I acted under a supposed necessity of conforming to your recommendation without reference to my own opinion on the subject. I could not have imagined that any such mistake was entertained as that I would take so decided a step against my own judgment, or without applying it to the consideration of the case. Having been, from the first, thoroughly acquainted with the grounds and reasons on which you acted; and, entirely concurring in them, I did not require any time to deliberate on the course I should pursue; and I thought, that in the way I acted, I fully indicated that concurrence; but, to prevent any misconstruction on the subject, I have no difficulty in stating that I regard the act of dismissal of Lord Roden and the Messrs. Beers as my own, and on which I consider myself as the person directly responsible; and of the propriety of which, on the grounds stated in Mr. Redington's letter, I had not at the time, nor have I now, the slightest doubt.I hope, therefore, that I have relieved my noble Friend from the anxiety he has suffered respecting the independence of the Lord Chancellors, and the coercion under which he acted. Reverting to the charges made against Mr. Berwick, I have been informed by Mr. Berwick that he proceeded in the same way as in other cases, except that he had taken more than special pains to note down everything which could be supposed to have a bearing on the matter, more particularly as it related to the conduct of the magistrates, and had carefully re-examined the whole case before making his report. My noble Friend has given your Lordships to understand that Mr. Berwick's notes were not full and complete; but they were quite as full and complete as those of a judge, which are always considered sufficient guides in a matter that may require after-consideration relating to a case that had been decided. They are not so full as the report of a shorthand writer, which contains not only the examination in chief, but the cross-examinations, minutely detailed. The question, however, really is, whether the judge has with sufficient fulness and perfect impartiality taken down all the necessary evidence for coming to an impartial decision; and my firm conviction is, that Mr. Berwick has done so. My noble Friend rather forestalled me when he said that no objection could be taken to a report which appeared in the Newry Telegraph, because Mr. Berwick has relied on that paper in another matter, namely, the report of a speech delivered by Mr. Beers. This Newry Telegraph is one of the most unscrupulous partisan papers in Ireland; 943 and that is saying a great deal. It was to be expected that it would give correctly the speech of the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge. If I wanted to look for a speech of Mr. Beers I should refer to that journal; but it does not follow that I should equally rely on its authority in a matter where his friends were concerned, and their conduct the subject of grave inquiry. Mr. Berwick has examined the report given by that paper, and found in it omissions, and a garbling of evidence, palpably wilful; but my noble Friend says it was verified on oath in the Queen's Bench, and that the reporter affirmed on oath that it was all correctly taken down by himself; but listen to a letter which has been put into my hand three or four days ago. It is from the reporter of another paper, the Banner of Ulster, and is addressed to Mr. Conway, proprietor of the Dublin Evening Post, a gentleman against whom the action was brought in the Queen's Bench:—Dear Sir—A friend of mine has just pointed out to me an article in the Dublin Herald of last Thursday, in which strong praise is accorded to a report of evidence taken before Mr. Berwick, at Castlewellan, which report is stated to have been 'before the public for months,' to have 'passed the ordeal of the Queen's Bench unscathed,' and "to be authenticated by the solemn oath of the reporter,' which latter person is again described as having been 'impartially industrious.' The two last phrases attracted my special attention, and I beg leave to draw your notice to the following fact in connexion therewith. On the day on which the Government inquiry was resumed at Castlewellan, no reporter from the Telegraph office took any notes at all. The report of that day's proceedings was furnished, as an abstract, by me in the first place, and afterwards falsified—then published. I received the usual fee from the Telegraph reporter for the matter so furnished, and the other reporters present know as well as I do that throughout the entire day's proceedings the party in question never wrote a line. If anybody has sworn to a report of that day's business, he must have sworn falsely, inasmuch as I am in a position to prove that no person took full notes of it but myself.Now, my Lords, I will beg to ask what reliance is to be placed on the oath of a man who not only did not take the evidence he swore he did, but who actually falsified the evidence he bought But this is not all. Mr. Berwick having heard there were some doubts thrown on his notes in consequence of a comparison with the report of this "impartial" and "industrious "gentleman, sent this evidence to Mr. Ruthven, Sessional Crown Solicitor, and received an answer yesterday, in which Mr. Ruthven, who had taken a full 944 report in shorthand of all the proceedings, says—Your note I have received, but hope, ere this, you have received per last night's mail my parcel, containing the notes of evidence, and with it a copy of the Orange report, noted by me so far as I had time to do so, since I got your first note on the subject. It only requires a careful examination and comparison with my report to fully point out the continuous mistakes and errors of the report relied on by the Orange party—suppression of evidence at times by wholesale. If I had got time I would have gone through the whole, and noted it; I would not have left them a line to rest on. If it ever comes to proof, then will be seen who is right; for my part, I am not afraid. My report I can prove, and I think your note will show it also. The report relied upon by the Orange party, if it comes to that, their own reporter cannot prove, and well they know it. Whenever it comes to that, I'll then state further facts, with which I shall not trouble you at this moment.This affidavit, was, therefore, in perfect keeping with all the other brought forward on that most discreditable trial; and they were characterised by Chief Justice Blackburne, one of the most distinguished judges who ever adorned the bench, in the following terms:—I must say they (the newspaper articles) have been brought forward by the affidavits offered to the court in a most garbled and imperfect manner, and many of them are really not the comments of the editor, but the expression of opinion growing out of this murderous and terrible outrage, having no manner of relation to the charge against Mr. Jardine. These passages have no distinct reference to Mr. Jardine, and could not prejudge his ease; they have reference, in the shape of comment, to the nature, character, and circumstances of one of the most barbarous and outrageous transactions which has ever disgraced our country.I feel it is unnecessary for me to add another word, or even to ask your Lordships to dismiss from your minds any impression that may have been made upon you with reference to the report from which he has so largely quoted. And yet it is upon evidence such as this that accusations are brought against a gentleman unimpeachable in conduct, a man of high judicial character, who, being invested with the character of a judge, was yet charged on such testimony with garbling and suppression—a charge which, if proved, would not only exclude Mr. Berwick from the bench, but would drive him for ever from the society of honest men. Before I sit down, I hope your Lordships will extend to me your indulgence on a matter which, though personal to myself, is not altogether without public importance; because, I fully admit, as the noble Lord 945 said, that the characters of public men are to be placed under the control of public opinion, and the public are interested in knowing whether men in high positions have rightly exercised their powers, and warranted the confidence placed in them; or whether accusations brought against them are or are not well founded. As I have been brought over here this evening, the opportunity is afforded me of alluding to certain misrepresentations, for the refutation of which, under other circumstances, I should have relied on my own character, and the consciousness that, to the best of my ability, I have performed the arduous duties with which I have been intrusted for the space of now nearly three years. Ever since the dismissal of the noble Earl, I have been exposed to calumnies in every variety of form—some promulgated in Ireland, some in this country. But those professional libellers I treat with the contempt they deserve. There is one document, however, to which I do think I am entitled to direct the attention of your Lordships, because it is signed by a Member of your Lordships' House, whom I now see before me (the Earl of Enniskillen); and the object of that document avowedly was to expose my unfitness for the office I held, and to prove that I had done acts unworthy of a gentleman. The document is made up of scraps of letters and reports of conversations; and the principal charges against me are founded on the sayings and doings of two gentlemen, one of whom is dead, and the other is now in India. It was said, that in the hour of peril I had courted the Orange party of Dublin, and basely deserted them when I no longer required their aid; and that I gave them arms exclusively when I was refusing arms to all other classes in Ireland. Now, instead of my having courted them, I knew nothing of the Orangemen of Dublin, but that a certain party existed under that name, till the 13th of March, 1848, when I received a copy of a very proper and loyal address from persons connected with the Orange party in Dublin, saying—We beg leave to approach your Excellency as the representative of our Sovereign with sincere offers of unpurchasable loyalty and devotion to Her Protestant person and house, and we pledge ourselves (in case of our service" being required) at the present crisis to aid and assist the authorities in the lawful execution of their duties, and for the suppression of anarchy and revolution.946 That was about three weeks after the revolution broke out in Paris—when political clubs and war committees were springing up every day in Dublin, where two or three associations existed, and the most seditious language was used—when every newspaper was daily teaching the people how to massacre the troops, and set fire to towns, and erect barricades—a time when every day brought over intelligence of new casualties and violent changes on the Continent; and there was no reason to expect that the capital of Ireland would have escaped the revolutionary contagion. At such a time, I should have been very much failing in my duty if I had allowed the political or religious tenets of any persons, who voluntarily came forward in defence of public order, to interfere with the measures which the emergency of the times might demand. It was my duty to accept all offers, without reference to religious or political feeling, which were made by all classes who were prepared to rally round the Throne and the institutions of the country. And, as a matter of course, I should have received that address. But my attention was called to certain resolutions passed the same evening the address was adopted:—Resolved—That in the opinion of this meeting the present disorganised and deplorable state of Ireland can only be attributed to the base policy of statesmen who have treacherously betrayed the trust confided to them by Protestants, in granting unjustifiable concessions to Popery, and that no attempt to remedy existing evils will be successful until the Romish Emancipation Bill, the Maynooth Endowment Bill, and all such measures, are entirely repealed, and the constitution restored to its original integrity. Resolved—That we are of opinion, and are assisted in that opinion by the speech of a Papist nobleman in Parliament, that Popery is the same as it ever was, and is unchanged and unchangeable; and that all bulls, &c, ever ordered by the Court of Rome for the extirpation and extermination of Protestants are still in force, if the opportunity occurred of using them. Resolved—That when we know a bull to be in force which calls our Queen a heretic, and would reward an assassin for murder, we must consider it most disloyal and unconstitutional of Her Majesty's Ministers to seek to establish diplomatic relations with her deadliest enemies.As I considered the resolutions inseparably connected with the address, I took means for informing the Orangemen that unless these resolutions, so properly offensive to our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, were withdrawn, the address could not be received. They were not; and the address has been neither received nor answered to 947 this day: so much for my courtship. At the same time a request was made, in order, it should seem, that these men of "unpurchasable loyalty" might test my trustworthiness, for arms or money to purchase arms; and it may he said that these were the only people who at that moment of general peril tried to turn their loyalty to account, because they requested me to receive their address or give them arms. Subsequently the noble Earl (the Earl of Enniskillen) applied to me, both as to receiving the address and furnishing arms; and though he himself stated in his manifesto that he met with no success, yet, because on the next day Captain Kennedy furnished money for the purchase of arms, the noble Earl did not think it beneath him to affix his signature to a document implying that the money must have come from me, and that I was doing, in a mean and underhand way, that which I had myself told him I thought would be wrong, and which I, therefore, did not dare avow openly. I knew nothing about the money, nor did I know, until a few days ago, whether it was Captain Kennedy's own, or the result of a subscription that had been set on foot, or had been furnished from any other quarter. All I knew was that it did not come from the Government; and I hope it is sufficient for me to give my solemn assurance that during the whole time I have held office I never, directly or indirectly, have given a weapon, or a shilling to purchase one, to any person in Ireland. Captain Kennedy, who was stated to have been employed by me, held no employment whatever under the Government, but was agent for the Devon estate, and had volunteered his services as an experienced engineer officer to organise the well-affected inhabitants of Dublin, and to make preparation for defending certain parts of the city, because I had given notice that in the event of an insurrection, that the troops should not be scattered about, and it was for the citizens to take some means for the protection of their own lives and property. The year after, it appears Captain Kennedy had given to the Horse Guards his plan for the defence of Dublin; and among the documents was a letter to Sir E. Blakeney, dated August 6, 1848, which I had never seen before, nor did I know of the existence of such a letter until it was placed in my hands a few days ago:—In considering this portion of the subject, it must be admitted that the policy of Government 948 in delaying to arm to some extent the loyal party in Ireland, has originated in the most humane and philanthropic motives, however hazardous this course may have been to the peace and safety of the country, and however trying to the loyalty of both the military and civil forces. The strict adherence to this policy cost me 600l. for the purchase of arms to keep our unruly adherents in good humour, and to prevent their placing themselves in hostility to the Government at the most critical period of our difficulties.This is not all. Within the last three or four days I have heard from Dr. Kennedy, the eminent physician of Dublin, that by the last India mail a letter had been received by him from his brother Major Kennedy, dated "Head-quarters, Camp, Lahore, Dec. 22, 1849," written on learning that the matter which occurred in the spring, 1848, had been made a subject of public discussion. He says—I have not had time to read your letters through, but amongst other things I see those villanous partisans of all shades, I suppose, are scolding at me in Ireland for the best act in my life—the having sacrificed 600l. to prevent the Orangemen throwing Dublin, and with it every part of Ireland, into a deluge of blood. Their wretched abuse is sweet music to my ear. I have not read it yet, but I shall not feel anything but compassion when I do.Now, my Lords, I hope it will be considered that this question of the 600l. and my arming the Orangemen of Dublin, has been effectually disposed of. It may appear to some incredible that such a private sacrifice should be made by Captain Kennedy for a public purpose, but those who know his disinterested and enthusiastic character will have no doubt of it; and although I am not intimately acquainted with him, I do know of various great sacrifices that he has made: he quitted his profession, in which he had greatly distinguished himself, and, I believe, held some lucrative employment, and lived during fourteen years in the mountains of Donegal, devoting himself to the improvement of the country, hoping for no other reward than that of doing good. What he says is perfectly true: my refusal to give arms did anger and dispirit many of the loyal and well-disposed subjects of Her Majesty in Ireland. I was pressed to it by deputations, by individuals for whom I had the highest respect, and by every kind of threat and entreaty: it was the general desire at that time, and not unnaturally, for alarm was general and well-founded. I believe, also, that the Government was blamed in this House for not consenting to call out the yeomanry; but as my noble Friend at the head of Her Majesty's Go- 949 vernment left these matters to my decision, holding me responsible for the peace of the country, I resolutely refused all applications, though I took care to place upwards of 100,000 stand of arms in different depôts throughout the country, ready for distribution to the well-affected in the event of emergency according to certain regulations; but it was my duty to look beyond the actual moment, and I knew that if one class of Irishmen were armed against another, the seeds of fresh religious animosity would be sown, and that when the revolutionary movement was over, Ireland would be found further off than ever from internal tranquillity. In the result I was not disappointed; for the intended rebellion was suppressed, the law was vindicated, no blood was spilled, no rancorous feelings were left behind; Her Majesty was, for the first time since her accession, able to visit that portion of Her dominions; and had it not been for that one particular procession and its fatal consequences in the county Down, your Lordships would now have the satisfaction of knowing that Ireland was more free from sectarian feuds, as I am happy to say it is from political agitation and agrarian outrage, than at any time during the last twenty years. On public grounds, I regret that my noble Friend has seen fit to bring this question before the House, as it will tend to revive the angry feelings which were gradually subsiding; but as I trust your Lordships will give your assent to a Bill which is now before the other House for putting an end to all processions—a Bill, I beg to say, which is directed against no particular party, and will be a triumph to none; I look forward to the extinction of these foolish and irritating demonstrations, aided as the law will be by the efforts of every well-thinking man in Ireland. After all that unfortunate country has gone through, after years of agitation destructive alike of industrial progress and social improvement, after having endured a calamity unparalleled for its appalling magnitude and duration, the great want of Ireland is repose. A famine of four years sweeping away the resources and means of the country must leave sad traces behind; but I humbly hope that the visitation of Providence has ceased, that the worst is now over, and that an earnest union of all classes for their own common good will lead to that social regeneration with which the interests of this country no less than those of Ireland are inseparably connected.
The EARL of RODEN
said, he had been most anxious to have an opportunity of answering those calumnious aspersions that had been cast upon his character with regard to the occurrence that took place in the north of Ireland in July last. Before proceeding to address their Lordships, he begged to return his most sincere thanks to the noble Lord behind him (Lord Stanley), for having given him that opportunity of addressing the House on the subject; and as that noble Lord had entered so ably and so fully into the many points connected with the occurrence, it had become unnecessary that he should detain their Lordships at any length with the observations he had to make. He could not but think that he had been most harshly used by the noble Lords opposite, and by the Members of Her Majesty's Government, and in particular by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whom he saw opposite. He trusted, at all events, that he would do him the credit to believe in taking the course which he had pursued in reference to many of the acts connected with that occurrence, his only intent in doing so was to defend his character from the aspersions that had been cast upon it, and that he was actuated now by no party feeling, or feeling of irritation, towards him—an individual whom he had always esteemed as a friend, and to whom he had had reason to be thankful for many kind acts. The first thing to which he begged to call the attention of their Lordships was, that on the 23rd of July, eleven days after the occurrence in the north of Ireland, he had written to the noble Lord, stating his sincere regret and grief at the circumstances which had taken place, and also offering to tender his resignation as a magistrate in case his remaining in office should occasion any difficulties to the Government. At the same time he had stated, before making that offer, that he thought his resignation would be construed as a triumph to the opposite party. In answer, he had received from the noble Lord a most courteous and kind reply, stating that his removal from the magistracy had never entered into his head, and that he did not desire him to sacrifice himself to the difficulties of the Government. Until the 7th of October, he did not receive anything from the Lord Lieutenant, or from any other officer whatever; but on that morning he received a letter from the Lord Chancellor, which had been read by the noble Lord, accompanied by a public document, 951 purporting to be a report of proceedings taken by the instructions of the Lord Chancellor. At the same time a private note reached him from the Lord Lieutenant, expressing his sorrow at being obliged to authorise the letter of the Lord Chancellor, but assuring him confidentially that his opinion of him was in no way altered from what it always had been. A letter, however, was put in the newspapers, a letter from Mr. Redington, the letter of which he complained, containing most serious charges, affecting his character as man and a magistrate. The three charges which it contained were—first, that he had aided and abetted an illegal meeting; second, that he had not used his exertions as a magistrate to prevent the effusion of blood by his fellow-subjects; and, third, that he had acted as a magistrate in his own case for the purpose of preventing the ends of justice. These were charges under which he could not rest satisfied, and, indeed, his wonder was, that under charges such as these he should be permitted to address their Lordships at that table, instead of being a prisoner and at their Lordships' bar, awaiting the verdict they should see fit to pronounce upon him. Contrary to all the principles of justice known in this country, he had been found guilty without a trial. It was true that in the letter he had referred to, it was asserted that he had been publicly arraigned; but, he now asked, where, and by whom?—for he found nothing for it but an assertion, and he had looked in vain for the evidence. The noble Lord know that he had always received his support whenever it was of consequence to the interests of the country. In 1848 Ireland was in a serious and awful position, Rebellion had spread among the people, and the troops were increased to 40,000. At that period he had thought it his duty, with the loyal men who were prepared to follow him, to give the Government his support, and to rally round the Throne. This was near the 12th of July, the day when these men assembled to celebrate their anniversary; and with a feeling of loyalty and attachment to Her Majesty's Government, which he was sure could not but receive the approbation of those in authority, in spite of many and great inducements held out to them, these men withdrew from the Repealers, and the consequence was that the military of Ulster could be removed to the disturbed parts, and that trivial revolution was suppressed. 952 In the month of March, 1849, another procession took place, at which the same happy results did not turn up as in the previous year. At that period he had put himself in communication with the noble Lord, stating to him the circumstances which had occurred, and the endeavours which he had used to prevent collision between the parties, and he received the thanks of the noble Lord for these endeavours. At that time the Government had in contemplation the passing of the Procession Act, and in the month of May he had had communications with the noble Lord respecting it. He regretted extremely that that Act had not been passed soon after March, but the press of business before the House made it quite impossible. In the month of May the noble Lord wrote to him about the Procession Act, and he had written in answer, stating that, in his opinion, it was then too late to introduce the Bill, as it would not pass till immediately before the 12th of July, and that it would then appear to have been passed especially against the Orangemen—a most ungracious course of proceeding after what had occurred the previous year. The noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Campbell) would remember that he had a conversation with him relative to that Act, and that he was only stating to the House the substance of what took place. On the 29th of June, he had an interview with the noble Lord, when he again told him that it was intended the procession should take place, and the noble Lord said that there would be no danger, as the necessary precautions should be taken. He certainly had no idea from any thing which fell from the noble Lord on that occasion that the procession was considered by him to be illegal. In fact, so little did the noble Lord lead him to think that he considered the procession illegal, or that by taking any part in it he (the Earl of Roden) would be in any way abetting an illegal act, that immediately after the procession had left his demesne, it being then nearly post hour, he wrote a letter to the noble Lord, stating how satisfactorily everything had gone on, and, by return of post, he received an answer from the noble Lord, stating how rejoiced he was to hear what he (the Earl of Roden) had mentioned, and how grateful he was to him for the course he had pursued. The 12th of July arrived, and he certainly would say that he felt pride and satisfaction in receiving 3,000 of his countrymen, with their wives and children, besides some 2,000 others 953 who had come as lookers on, and who had come to compliment him by their visit. On that occasion, he had an interview with Mr. Fitzmaurice, the stipendiary magistrate, who expressed a hope that he (the Earl of Roden) would use his influence with the processionists, in order to induce them to go home by another road, as he had seen armed men on the hill as he came along. He at once consulted another magistrate who was present, and he said that such advice would be unwise, as the procession would be split in consequence of it. He knew the meaning that was intended to he conveyed by the expression—that some of the party would go by one road, and some the other, and that either party thus weakened would be exposed to be attacked. Therefore, influenced by a desire for the safety of the people, he gave them the best advice in his power. That advice was before their Lordships, and he need not refer further to it; but this he would say, that the brave and determined men to whom he had spoken would have acted on that advice and have gone peaceably to their homes, had they not been basely, cowardly, and brutally attacked, with their wives and children, by conspirators, hiding behind the houses and walls. It was when they were fired at, and when they were defending their wives and children, that these unhappy occurrences took place, which every one must regret. With regard to the boy to whose death allusion had been made, there could be no doubt that the shot by which he fell had been fired from the hill, as he was at the time in the tail of the procession which he had been accompanying all day.
§ The EARL of CLARENDON
said, he had quoted the evidence, where it was distinctly stated that the boy's scull had been battered in by blunt instruments.
The EARL of RODEN
continued to say that it was true the boy's head had been broken in, but then two troops of cavalry had passed over the road where he was lying, and the battering could be accounted for in that way. Believing that the evidence on which he was disposed to rely might he questioned by the noble Lord opposite, he had taken the precaution to write to the witnesses who had been examined. The persons to whom he had made application, had no interest in the matter one way or the other, as they were officers of Her Majesty's Army. Having drawn their attention to both reports, he asked them to state which they thought 954 most correct, and this was Major Wilkinson's reply:—Belfast, Feb. 14.My Lord—I have the honour to state, in reply to your Lordship's note, that I consider the report of my evidence, as taken in shorthand, as giving a much fuller report of my evidence.—Tours, &c.J. WILKINSON, Major 13th Regiment.Castlewellan, Fob. 15.My Lord—I have carefully read over the reports of my evidence taken at the investigation last year. I think that Mr. Berwick has left out two or three material points which are reported in the shorthand writer's one, and therefore of the two I should recommend it as best.—I have the honour to be, my Lord, your obedient humble servant,WM. PARKER TERRY, Ensign 9th Foot.Viscount Jocelyn.Castlewellan.My dear Lord—I have carefully read over the notes of Mr. Berwick's minutes of the evidence given by me relative to the affray at Maghermayo, on the 12th July, and comparing it with the report of the same, taken by the shorthand writer, and published by Mr. Henderson, I am clearly of opinion that the latter is the most correct, and the fullest of the two.—I have the honour to be, yours very faithfully,GEORGE SHAW, J. P.Rathfriland, Feb. 15.Dear Sir—I shall feel much obliged by your informing Lord Jocelyn that I consider my evidence, as reported by Mr. Berwick's notes, neither full, clear, nor correct; and I am satisfied it is given as fully and fairly as possible in the pamphlet published in Newry. I was from home, and did not return until after post hour yesterday, or I would have written last night.—I remain, dear sir, yours truly,THOMAS SCOTT, J. P., County Down.To John Reilly, Esq.But the next charge made against him was of a very serious nature indeed. It was, that he was careless or indifferent with regard to the preservation of the public peace. The following was the portion of the charge to which he referred. It was from Sir Thomas Redington's letter to the Lord Chancellor:—On the arrival of the Orange procession at Tolmore-park they were received by Lord Roden, who, joined by the two Messrs. Beers, proceeded to his house, while the procession marched past to a field, where a tent and platform had been erected, and refreshment provided for the body by his Lordship. Thither Mr. Fitzmaurice, the stipendiary magistrate, had also repaired, to represent to Lord Roden, on the part of the magistrates who were then assembled on the hill (who all agreed that it would be dangerous to allow the Orange party to come back by the same road), that an armed Ribbon party was stationed near Dolly's Brae; and that if the procession returned by that way a collision was seriously to be apprehended. Lord Roden in reply stated, that he feared he had not himself sufficient influence to 955 effect this object, but that he would speak to the party, and also to Mr. William Beers, upon the subject. In the address, however, which he subsequently delivered to the Orange body, he abstained from any attempt to dissuade them from returning by a route, the passage along which, he had been apprised, would be attended with so much risk. The Lord Lieutenant cannot but feel that those who sanctioned this course being taken, or who took no steps to prevent it, showed themselves most indifferent to the preservation of the public peace, which, as magistrates, it was their special duty to maintain.Now, in answer to that statement, he must say, that he had throughout the whole of these transactions shown himself most anxious for the preservation of the public peace, and that his not asking the party to return by the other road was in itself one of the strongest proofs that he could have given of his anxiety for the public safety. With regard to the objection made against him for attending at sessions after these charges had been brought forward, he had only to say that, had he abstained from attending the sessions, as he had always been in the habit of doing, it would have to some extent implied that he acknowledged the justice of the allegations made against him. At the same time, when the forty-two men were brought up, charged by the Crown solicitor with being engaged in an illegal assembly, he felt that the assembly could not have been illegal, or else that the noble Lord would have told him so. Therefore he could not in conscience consent to receive informations against them on such a charge; but at the same time he had gone to that session, as he had always done, with a determination to do justice to every man—he had no feeling in favour of one more than of another; and if he had been asked to receive informations against any of those who had committed any of the outrages that had taken place, he would willingly have done so. He felt also that the ends of justice could be by no means compromised by the course which he felt it his duty to take, as Mr. Berwick and other magistrates were present who did not concur in his views, and by whom the informations might have been received. It was certainly very extraordinary, that though he and those who concurred with him had been thus pressed to receive informations against their friends, still that two sessions had been since allowed to pass over without the informations having been yet taken. Allusion had been made to a letter that had been written with a view of seeking to prevent a near relative of his from accompanying 956 Her Majesty as lady-in-waiting on Her Majesty's visit to Ireland. It was manifest what the feelings of the writer towards him were; and the object was clearly to seek to degrade him in the eyes of his countrymen, by making it appear that Her Majesty had such a strong feeling with regard to the course which he had pursued, that She could not allow one connected with him to remain near Her person. Personally he had no motive to serve by remaining in the commission of the peace. His sole desire, as a resident proprietor and magistrate in Ireland, had been to seek by all means in his power to benefit the country, and to dispense justice to all classes and all denominations alike. He cared not where his words went forth, or who might listen to the statement which he now made; but he would fearlessly assert that, throughout his whole career as a magistrate, he had never favoured one party more than another; that he had always done justice to the best of his ability, and had never, in the dispensation of it, allowed himself to be influenced by any considerations, religious, political, or personal. In conclusion, he had only to refer, which he did with pride, to the expression of feeling which the treatment he had received from Her Majesty's Government had called forth throughout the country. Not only those who knew him personally, but those who were only acquainted with him by the character which he bore, and by the reports of the treatment which he had received, came forward to subscribe their names to most generous and affectionate addresses that poured in upon him from every portion of the empire. The noble Earl concluded by stating that he had never, at any period, entertained feelings of personal hostility or pique towards the noble Earl the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
§ The EARL of CLARENDON,
in explanation, said, it was true, as his noble Friend had stated, that he had written him a letter saying, that as it was evident that certain parties were determined to drive him from the magistracy, he trusted that he (the Earl of Clarendon) would not allow himself to he embarrassed, but, if he considered it proper, would remove him at once; and it had never crossed his mind to turn his noble Friend out of the magistracy to relieve himself of embarrassment. With respect to the delay in the bringing in of the Processions Act last year, it was delayed in consequence of the 957 pressure of other business, and of Irish business in particular, and had been afterwards postponed on the representation of his noble Friend; but at the time it was so postponed he asked his noble Friend what security he would give that the public peace should not be disturbed on the 12th of July, and his noble Friend answered him, that every loyal man was willing to exert himself to the utmost to preserve peace. He then expressed his very great objection to the Orange procession, not because he considered it illegal, but he regretted that such a procession should go to Tollymore Park, as there rested a peculiar responsibility on his noble Friend.
The EARL of WINCHILSEA
said, that after the speech of his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) there was not one man who was influenced by a proper feeling who would not give an honourable acquittal to his noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) of having violated any of the laws of his country. His noble Friend had been most harshly, unjustly, and unconstitutionally treated. But he had received at the hands of 800 magistrates of all characters and political creeds, a testimonial of which he might well be proud, and which would descend with honour to his posterity. He held that the commission sent down by the noble Earl to institute an inquiry was a perfectly unconstitutional act. If his noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) had been guilty of any violation of the law, his conduct ought to have been investigated in a Court of law, and then, if proved guilty, the Executive Government might have pronounced upon him whatever sentence the law awarded. But, were England's liberties to be placed in this jeopardy—that Government was to send forth a commission to investigate the conduct of any man holding a magisterial character, and that upon the report of such commission Government was to pronounce a verdict of guilty, and exercise an arbitrary power in awarding whatever punishment it chose? Such a proceeding, he contended, was a violation of the first principles of the British constitution. The Processions Act was allowed to expire because it was well known that that Act was confined entirely to Orange lodges; it did not extend to the Roman Catholic parties. [Lord STANLEY corrected the noble Earl and said, the Act applied to all party processions.] If that was the case, how was it that those monster meetings for the repeal of the Union were allowed to be held in 958 Ireland? There were two parties assembled at Dolly's Brae: one to maintain the Roman Catholic principles of James H., the other to maintain the Protestant principles of the house of Hanover. The latter assembled peaceably and unarmed in their own locality, and were accompanied by their wives and children; while the former were brought from a distance, and were led on by two priests, who gave them bread, knowing that they were armed, and that they were going to make an attack on the other party. It would be well for their Lordships to inquire in what manner this Mr. Berwick conducted the investigation he was commissioned to make. That gentleman confined his inquiries entirely to the conduct of the Orange party, without taking any evidence whatever that affected the Ribband party; and the investigation was conducted in so indifferent and slovenly a manner that, instead of eliciting the truth, it only involved the whole matter in one mass of contradictions and inconsistencies. Though his noble Friend had been most unconstitutionally and most cruelly dismissed from the commission, yet he (the Earl of Winchilsea) would tell his noble Friend that he envied him the applause which his high and virtuous character and most constitutional conduct had received from as honourable a body of men as could be found in Her Majesty's dominions.
said, that he came to the consideration of the present question void of all party feeling, party views, or party connexions, at least equally with his noble Friend, who had so ably and eloquently opened what might be regarded as a quasi judicial discussion. But in answer to the appeal of his noble Friend who spoke last, and who said that no person whose mind was not biassed could possibly dream of imputing any base or dishonourable or illegal conduct to the noble Earl, whose proceedings formed the subject of the present discussion, though he entirely acquitted that noble Earl of all illegality or immorality of conduct, it by no means followed that he could assent to the second part of his noble Friend's (Lord Winchilsea's) proposition, and say that he considered all the noble Earl's proceedings such, and all the proceedings of the Government such, as to entitle him (Lord Brougham) to say, and their Lordships to conclude, that the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) had been unjustly, unconstitutionally, or arbitrarily dismissed from the magistracy. Although he should not go 959 into the facts of the case for the purpose of explaining why he did not accept that part of the proposition, yet he felt it his duty to offer a few observations upon points which had incidentally come under consideration, but which were most material when discussing the conduct of the Irish Government, as well as material to their deliberations on the subject generally. First of all, he should deeply lament if the violence with which his noble Friend opposite had been of late, and only of late, assailed in Ireland should furnish another instance of that which they had too frequently had occasion to observe in the conduct of their fellow-subjects, the Irish, in dealing with great national questions. He was in much pain to observe that it might seem to afford another instance of that volatile nature which appeared to prevail among great multitudes of our fellow-countrymen in that portion of the united kingdom. One year you were the object of their praise—praise!—they reject so feeble an expression; of their eulogy—that won't do; of their profound admiration;—that is nothing like it—of their deep and heartfelt respect—in the heart 's-core felt respect!—even that is not sufficient; but of their veneration, of their all but adoration, and, if their priests would permit it, even of their worship: with them he, who to-day was all but deified, in a very few weeks, before the moon waned, became the object of one deep, loud, and universal burst of vituperation. The idolaters become iconoclasts, broke their images to atoms, which they trampled under foot. All this afforded a strong ground for watching such a people's conduct, and, in connexion with such a people, the conduct of their magistrates. But their Lordships were not to be led away by those feelings; they were to argue like rational men. Her Majesty had in the Speech from the Throne most graciously expressed the reliance She had, not only upon the loyalty, but upon the good sense of the people of Ireland. He had not the least desire to underrate that reliance, but rather, if he could, to regard it as a reliance upon a rock, and not upon a reed; and but for those alternate fits of popular fever, of heat and cold, he should readily participate in that expression of reliance upon their common sense, in spite of all experience of their mercurial nature. Now, this observation was very germane to the matter in hand, and might well account for there being one law for dealing with magistrates in a country composed of people 960 of great deliberation, of great slowness to be moved, of great aversion to strong expressions, either of admiration or of censure, and another law for dealing with magistrates in a country composed of people of so mercurial a temperament that notwithstanding their many excellent qualities, and notwithstanding all their genius, they had taken this notion into their minds, that all matters of the most grave importance, all matters in which any very immediate personal interests to them as individuals or as a people were involved, are of no consequence compared with a few notions of a totally abstract nature, such as the repeal of the Union, or such as those other questions which were at this moment distracting the minds of our excellent neighbours, the French. Their constitutional temperament, like that of the Parisians, was such, that any man by raising his hand for any sort of abstract notion, could get together 20,000 or 30,000 people, march them in procession, and make them meet in one field; and all this without the slightest intention of breaking the peace, or for any illegal purpose; though such people were very apt, before the day was over, to turn their numbers to illegal purposes, because when great numbers are assembled together, their very numbers makes them illegal. The meeting in masses of armed men, however innocent in itself originally, would, from the very fact of their numbers, become illegal. That which was perfectly legal in its inception might become illegal in its endurance, and might lead to most mischievous consequences by astonishing and terrifying the peaceable subjects of the Crown, and, above all, by endangering the public peace of the realm. Look at our greatest authorities in the law, and you find it laid down that even a body of friends assembled to accompany a man to market, and defend him in his walk thither, is an unlawful assembly, and to be dealt with as such, and dispersed, nay, with punishment of the parties so assembled. But as he understood the facts of the present case, even the purpose for which the assemblage took place in Castlewellan was such as to make a collision extremely probable. There was a challenge. That which had happened the year before between these parties rankled in their minds; and when it was said by one party to the other, "Oh, you dare not do so and so," the other said, "But we dare do so and so." "Oh!" says the noble Earl, "there was no collision, be- 961 cause only one party was concerned." Aye, but the challenge was given and it was accepted, and there must always be two parties to a collision. If a man goes out to fight a duel, he breaks the peace, and there is a collision if they meet, and though they don't there is a misdemeanour. He (Lord Brougham) declined entering into the details of this case. But the purpose for which he more especially rose to address their Lordships was one, considering the profession to which he belonged, he could not avoid regarding, nor could he let the present debate close without stating one matter which had struck him while attending to this discussion. With respect to the dismissal of magistrates, he had no manner of doubt that their dismissal was clearly within the competence of the Great Seal, according as the Keeper of the Great Seal should think right. That was clear; but at the same time it was the bounden duty of the persons in that high trust to exercise a sound discretion. He was not capriciously, above all he was not from personal, party, or corrupt motives, to exert that power. He was bound to satisfy his own conscience by inquiry that there was good ground for dismissal. He (Lord Brougham) always greatly doubted the soundness of the doctrine laid down by Lord Eldon, that when once a man was in the commission, there was no possibility of removing him until he had been convicted of some criminal offence; that was not, in his (Lord Brougham's) opinion, the law of the Great Seal of England—at all events since the time of Lord Eldon it never had been the practice; persons had been removed from the commission of the peace in England without any conviction in a court of law. He himself presented a petition against Lancashire magistrates for fining poachers whom they could not convict on the game laws, but asked if they had been at church last Sunday, and finding they had not, fined them. This was an outrage on all justice, for which he had called on the Chancellor of the Duchy to remove them, and yet they never could have been prosecuted for it. But in Ireland the practice had been quite different, even in Lord Eldon's time, from that observed in England; he meant that it had been much more lax. Magistrates there had been constantly removed from the commission for causes which were never thought to be a ground of removal in England; such as for attending a Repeal meeting, or a meet 962 ing connected with the Orange lodges. His noble Friend had said that the course which had been pursued by the Irish Government was an unconstitutional one; and that the magistrates ought to have been brought before a court of law for inquiry. But, in point of fact, there was no necessity for instituting any inquiry at all. The Lord Chancellor must satisfy himself that there were good grounds for dismissal; he must adopt every reasonable mode to inform his own conscience. But it appeared that a commission was issued, and was entrusted by his noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) to Mr. Berwick, who possessed his noble Friend's confidence, he not being a violent partisan, but a person who from his habits as well as his rank and station would ably and fairly conduct the inquiry. But then it was said that he was unduly empowered to administer an oath; he (Lord Brougham) admitted that making Mr. Berwick a magistrate for the county would not authorise him to administer an oath, except in matters over which he had jurisdiction as a county magistrate; he could not examine upon oath solely for the purpose of informing the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor of the result of his inquiries; but then the Lord Lieutenant, exercising the powers of the Crown, had clearly a right to empower Mr. Berwick to examine upon oath whether he was a magistrate or not. This was often done in England on the most important inquiries. Thus he (Lord Brougham) sealed a Commission of Inquiry into corporations, and the Municipal Corporation Act grew out of their report. That Commission empowered any one or more of the commissioners to examine all persons upon oath. Thus the Lord Lieutenant possessed a power to enable Mr. Berwick to administer an oath, in this inquiry, though he (Lord Brougham) would not say that perjury could be assigned against any party on account of such oath. But then it was asked, why were not Lord Roden and the Messrs. Beers authorised to attend this commission? But the commission was not of a nature to require them to attend. It was an ex parte proceeding to satisfy the Great Seal and the Government, and no other party had any right to complain of not being invited to attend. Such meetings as those which had been mentioned during the debate, as their Lordships were aware, were attended with very great risk of disturbance in Ireland; and no 963 wonder, for they were told by Major Wilkinson, in his evidence, that the people went to him with their bibles and blunderbusses, just as if they were going to a picnic. [Lord STANLEY: That is not in the evidence.] My noble Friend has not read his brief. If without reading it he spoke three hours, had he read it he would have been speaking still. The words, exactly as I have given them, are at full length in Major Wilkinson's evidence, a print of which lies before me. He says, "The people came with their bibles and their blunderbusses exactly as if they were going to a picnic." He (Lord Brougham) considered that a complete answer had been given to the charge against Mr. Berwick, and he was rejoiced that the honour and fairness of that gentleman's proceedings had been vindicated. Lord Brougham went on to say that the charge against the Irish Chancellor was entirely groundless. That high officer, no doubt, had read and well weighed the evidence. In all likelihood the letter addressed to himself was framed with his own concurrence. He (Lord Brougham) had no doubt whatever on this head. He (Lord Brougham) had forgotten to put his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) right on what he most erroneously conceived to be a novelty in Mr. Berwick's mode of recording the evidence of witnesses. Why did he give no questions, said his noble Friend, but only answers? What judge did so? He (Lord Brougham) must inform his noble Friend, by asking the question, what judge ever in the world did take down the questions? Why, no one ever heard of such a thing, unless once in half a year, when some peculiar reason arises for deviating from the ordinary course most uniformly pursued by all judges in all parts of the empire where witnesses are examined before them. Yet these notes, which give no questions, and only record the subsistence of the answers, are reported to the courts whence the records come for trial; and these judges' notes of the answers in substance form the only grounds on which the court appealed to proceed, or can proceed. Nor is one line of any shorthand writer's note ever suffered to be seen by the court appealed to, even if such shorthand writer, unlike the Irish gentleman, had been present at the whole examination. What, therefore, could be more groundless than this charge against Mr. Berwick? He (Lord Brougham) believed that, upon the whole, substantial justice had been 964 done in the case now under discussion, and that a right course had been pursued. He thought that no objection whatever could be made to the conduct of his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon), which, in his opinion, had been distinguished by great wisdom and perfect honesty. He hoped the course that had been followed to-night would not be drawn into a precedent, and that when any magistrate was removed from the commission, either here or in Ireland, they would not have a six hours' debate on the circumstances of his dismissal. He must add that a more triumphant answer he never had heard than that given to his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) on the notes of the absent reporter. Had he (Lord Stanley) taken the trouble of comparing Mr. Berwick's own notes with his report, he might have made a better case. He would only say, before he sat down, that he was certain the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden), during his long exercise of judicial functions as a magistrate, had never shown the slightest approach to unfairness, partiality, or prejudice, political, religious, or personal; and after the debate which had taken place, the name of that noble Lord would go forth from this trial to his country and to the word as entirely unimpeached and untarnished by any imputation of unfairness, partiality, or injustice, as it was before the 12th of last July; and more unimpeached or untarnished, no name in Europe could be.
The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE
was anxious to state, that in every step which his noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had taken on this subject, he had had the entire co-operation and the fullest approbation of Her Majesty's Government. The noble Earl had held office in Ireland during a most extraordinary period, and no part of his conduct had more entirely merited the approbation of his Sovereign and of the Government than had the manner in which he had conducted this most delicate, difficult, and unpleasant business. He (the Marquess of Clanricarde) greatly regretted the circumstances which had led to this debate. It was vexatious to every man who felt interested in the prosperity of Ireland, and it was mortifying and humiliating to every Irishman, to find that, notwithstanding all that had been done, and all the weight of authority that had been brought to bear—the weight of both Houses of Parliament, of addresses to the Crown, and answers from 965 the Crown, it had been impossible to root out of that country those remains of faction and party which had led to the lamentable result that had formed the subject of the discussion that night. Every one had joined in deprecating those societies, and yet the noble Lord opposite appeared in this Motion as the apologist and advocate of the Orangemen; and he (the Marquess of Clanricarde) appealed to their Lordships whether, in almost every part of his speech, there had not been constant laudation of the men of that party, which maintained and promoted by all the means in their power these mischievous processions? The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Roden) had complained that Orangemen had been persecuted by all statesmen, whether Whig or Tory; but did it never occur to the noble Lord that the Orangemen by their conduct had deserved the reprobation which he acknowledged they had met with from every eminent and unprejudiced man? Troops and magistrates were sent out as much against the Ribandmen as against Orangemen; there was no special feeling on that side the House against Orangemen, but the general opinion was, that both societies were equally injurious. Now, Orange societies were maintained chiefly by and for these processions. The object of those who permitted and encouraged the demonstrations on the part of Orangemen was clear; for if it were not for the processions of which they had heard, there would be no Orangemen, The evils resulting from the continuance of these societies and processions were fully shown in the present case. They had first the tumult, riot, and bloodshed which invariably accompanied processions of this kind; and they had then the corruption and contamination in the administration of justice which inevitably resulted from the existence of such societies. He did not mean to impute any injustice or partiality to the noble Earl, who was as incapable as any one could be of such conduct; but he asked them to look to the facts of the present case, and imagine what must have been the feelings of the Catholics of his neighbourhood, when they saw the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) appear, as he had done, on the bench at Castlewellan. In these cases of party riots, not only had Catholics their houses wrecked and their persons injured; but when proceedings were taken in courts of law, they found that they had to depend upon the decisions of Orange juries and Orange magis- 966 trates. Catholics were almost always convicted, while an Orangemen never was. [Cries of "No, no!"] Was it not so at Crossgar? Was it not so at Ruthneale? And was it not the fact that several Catholics had been held to bail at Castlewellan for being concerned in an illegal assembly, while at the very same place informations tendered against Orangemen for a similar offence had been rejected? Would people suppose that justice was administered fairly when they saw the noble Earl acting as he did? He (the Marquess of Clanricarde) imputed nothing whatever to the noble Earl beyond a mistake in judgment, and felt sure that he was anxious to act with the utmost impartiality and most conscientiously in administering justice between man and man; but there were cases in which such mistakes must be visited with reprehension. He (the Marquess of Clanricarde) hoped, from the bottom of his heart, that this would be the last time there would be a discussion in Parliament upon this most odious subject. It was a painful thing that the Government should be obliged to bring in such a Bill as they had introduced into Parliament, instead of trusting to the common law of the country. He trusted, however, that a Bill would put an end to such proceedings; and he was confident the course his noble Friend (the Earl of Clarendon) had taken was the only course which could have been taken to maintain the dignity of the law, and to show Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland that justice in Ireland would be administered without partiality.
§ LORD ABINGER
did not consider that there had been shown, during the whole of the debate, any reason why the noble Earl had been dismissed from the commission of the peace. Lord Roden could not be accountable for the attack upon the procession—he was surely not accountable that an Orange procession should take place. When he assented to receive the deputations, he was not aware that a procession would be formed, consequently it was for something subsequent to the procession that he was dismissed. It was impossible for Lord Roden to receive information of what afterwards occurred. Punishment ought not to be inflicted upon magistrates except upon proof of corruption. That was a wholesome maxim of our civil law, but there was not even in this case the allegation of such a charge. The Government were, in his opinion, using the autho- 967 rity of the Crown against the Crown, and he did trust that they would, in a short time, see the justice of restoring the noble Earl to a commission which he had so worthily occupied.
said, if the noble Lords opposite were satisfied with the issue of the debate, and thought that their proceedings were vindicated, he, for his part, would be quite satisfied with its result. With respect to the shorthand writer's notes, he had heard their correctness questioned for the first time that night. He had a great number of letters in his pocket, all testifying to their accuracy. That report was verified by an affidavit in the Court of Queen's Bench, which remained uncontradicted. He believed it had been stated by the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) that the reporter of the Newry Telegraph had not taken notes of the proceedings.
had no opportunity of knowing whether he had taken notes or not, but it was quite clear he was present. He could only say that he would not set the assertion of a rival newspaper against a report verified by an uncontradicted affidavit in the Court of Queen's Bench in Dublin, but would set that affidavit against an anonymous communication.
could state that the observations of Chief Justice Blackburne were not addressed to this affidavit. The proceedings against the Dublin Evening Post were instituted at a late period, and the question arose why they were not taken sooner. In order to meet this ease, a series of articles published in the Dublin Evening Post were put on the file, for the purpose of showing that their continuous publication was injurious to the prosecutor. Chief Justice Blackburne was of opinion these articles were insufficient to account for the delay, and, on this ground, he refused to make the rule absolute; but to show that there was no allegation on the truth of the prosecutor, it would be sufficient to state that the rule was discharged without costs. He felt it would not be necessary for him to enter into the merits of the whole case; but he would remark that he did feel surprised that the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Clanricarde) had accused him—he thought, he 968 might have been asleep during the early part of his address—had accused him (Lord Stanley) of being the advocate of party processions. He who claimed to be the Minister who first introduced a Bill to put such party processions down—he who had hoped to have passed the measure quickly through the House—he who had done something by bringing forward this substantive Motion, in order to prevent the question being mixed up with the greater question of party processions—he did feel surprised that he should be accused of being the champion and advocate of Orangemen. In 1835 he had been most anxious to dissolve the old body, and he regretted the formation of the new. He was perfectly satisfied with the result of the discussion, as far as his noble Friend (the Earl of Roden was concerned. The noble Marquess (the Marquesss of Clanricarde) had inquired if such a discussion would have taken place if Mr. Beers, or some one occupying a more insignificant position than the noble Earl had been dismissed; and his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) had said that it would hamper Chancellors if, when a magistrate was dismissed, it were to be a Parliamentary question. Now he said, be he high, or be he low, be well known or obscure, if oppression or tyranny were exercised in the dismissal of any magistrate, he trusted the time would never come when that magistrate would find the doors of Parliament closed against his just complaints. His noble Friend had, during that debate, ample testimony borne to his station and high character. It was true his noble Friend had not the satisfaction of knowing for what cause he was dismissed from the commission of the peace; but he had the satisfaction of hearing that Government which had dismissed him bearing testimony to his justice and impartiality as a magistrate; he had the satisfaction of knowing that all that could be brought against him was that in this single case he had been guilty of an error of judgment.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.