The Marquess of Londonderry
rose to bring forward his motion with respect to the House of Commons' Report on Orange Lodges Societies. He confessed that he was not at all sorry that his motion had been deferred from Thursday to this evening, because it enabled his noble Friend (Lord Roden) to be in his place, and afforded him an opportunity which his noble Friend would embrace 1259 with satisfaction, to explain his views on this subject. Although it certainly was not his intention to enter into a discussion of the policy of the late measures adopted by his Majesty's Government, still be hardly thought that he could rise, with his feelings on this question, without in some degree alluding to the measures lately adopted towards that country which gave him birth, and to which he was so ardently attached. He had the satisfaction of seeing his noble Friend in his place; and whatever that noble Lord's sins might be with respect to the support of Orange societies, he (Lord Londonderry) did feel, from the high character and inestimable worth of his noble Friend, that there was hardly a man in Ireland who did not venerate and esteem him; and he was sure that whatever might fall from his noble Friend to-night would be received with that weight and consideration by their Lordships which he was so well qualified to inspire. Having said thus much of his noble Friend, he would advert to an observation which fell from the noble Viscount opposite the other night. It was with great surprise that he heard that noble Viscount state that he did not think that he (Lord Londonderry) had been attacked, and that there was therefore no occasion for the present motion. The noble Viscount made that statement, he doubted not, in one of his usual off-hand ways; and he questioned much whether the noble Viscount, involved as he was with his multifarious business, had found time to look into the circumstances that affected an humble individual like himself. But the noble Viscount did come down and state things in their Lordships' House sometimes in a very singular and off-hand manner. He remembered the noble Viscount coming down and saying, "Oh! as to the decree of Don Carlos, that was nothing—there was not a word of truth in that." He also remembered the noble Viscount standing up in this House and declaring that he had taken upon himself the Government of the country upon condition of carrying the appropriation clause into effect; but their Lordships had not heard any thing this year from the noble Viscount respecting that clause. He should be extremely obliged to the noble Viscount if, after the noble Viscount had heard his case, the noble Viscount would not entrench himself in silence as he sometimes did, but would get up and tell him whether, if the 1260 noble Viscount himself were in such circumstances as he was, the noble Viscount would allow those accusations—founded on no evidence, as he should presently show—which had gone forth to the public, and which had mixed him up in every way with the transactions of the Orange societies, and all those concerns of which so much had lately been heard, and of which he was as entirely innocent and ignorant as the noble Viscount himself, to remain unanswered and unrepelled? Having said this, he must also be permitted to say, that in his experience he had found that when any individual intended to bring forth documents for discussion, it was usual for that courtesy and gentlemanly feeling which ought ever to subsist in the Legislature of this great country, to be strictly observed; and that if documents were brought forward, to read them, not in a garbled and piecemeal manner, but in extenso. By the greatest good luck, as he had said on a former night, he had an affectionate and gallant son who would not allow a shadow of a shade to go forth against his parent's reputation, and he nailed down the individual to the charge which he had made, and the answer, or rather attempt at an answer, by that individual was most disingenuous, and little consonant to the feelings of Englishmen. Yes, the individual to whom he had alluded, had extorted a verdict of not guilty from the accuser; but the verdict was so twisted and entwined with other insinuations, that if their Lordships looked at the animus of the whole thing, it was impossible not to treat it with all the scorn and contempt which such a mode of proceeding deserved. He was, in the first instance, prepared to bring the whole subject forward, but he would not deny that some friends (he did not allude to his noble Friends around him, nor to the noble Duke who was at the head of his side of the House, but to some private friends) had offered him their counsel. They did not mean to say (as the noble Viscount did) that he had not been at all attacked, but they said to him this, "Oh, what do you care for Mr. Hume or Mr. O'Connell? Who cares for what they say? It would be a piece of supererogation for you to stand up, at your time of life, and after the years you have gone through in your public profession, to protect your character against such attacks. On the one hand your public services are known, and your 1261 character well understood and established; on the other hand, who are Mr. Hume and Mr. O'Connell? But their Lordships could not deny to themselves that those Gentlemen, by the unfortunate situation in which this country was placed, had succeeded in deluding one-half of the people of England by their gross misrepresentations; and whom besides did they direct? It would be in vain for the noble Viscount opposite or his noble Friends to deny, that the guiding hand of the present Government was from that quarter. When he saw this, he felt that an individual in his humble position could not, ought not, and dared not, for his own peace of mind, put aside with indifference these insinuations and accusations. But if his opinions had been erroneous, he had since taken up a journal which he considered the most able, most classical, and best journal of the day, in which he had read one sentence that at once decided him as to the course he should pursue. The writer observed that "innocent men who were subjected to slander, might take, and probably did take, the wisest course for themselves when they submitted in silence, consoling themselves with the consciousness of their innocence; but they did not take the wisest course for their fellow-men, and purchased their own private peace by sacrificing public utility. Besides, to expose a slanderer was like hunting down any other noxious creature." This sentence determined him to persevere in the course he had at first proposed to himself. He felt that he should most triumphantly succeed, before he had done, in exposing the slanderer by the evidence he should produce. Much of that evidence was contained in the public prints. The documents connected with Orange Lodges were all now in the hands of the public journals of the country. What had occurred in another place he could only know by the papers of the day. He saw by the papers that certain letters were read, not in extenso, but in a garbled manner; and from those letters certain inferences were drawn. This was evidently not done by the reporters: he did not blame them, because he was quite sure that the reporters of the newspapers were honourable men, who would not wilfully state any thing that was wrong, and would not make the substance of the speech differ in any degree from the sense of the speaker. The gentleman who de- 1262 livered the speech to which he was alluding entered very much at length into details as to what had happened with respect to the Orange societies. He said, "He now came to some letters of great importance, which were to be found in the Report of the evidence lying on the table of the House. He alluded particularly to two letters purporting to have been written to the Marquess of Londonderry on the 29th and 30th of July, 1832. The first, dated the 29th of July, was from Colonel Fairman to the Marquess of Londonderry." The hon. Member had then proceeded to read the substance of those letters. He had said—"The writer gravely went on to tell the noble Marquess, 'The field is now open to your Lordship—the post of honour is exclusively your own. If, then, your Lordship would but profit of it, you would deserve well of this country, while at such a crisis you would confer fresh confidence on your own. In a long conversation I had yesterday with Lord Longford, he intimated that the brethren of Ireland were determined to resist all attempts the Liberals might make to put them down; at the same time reproaching us for our tameness, in not affording an aid commensurate with the evils by which we were menaced. In proportion to an increase in the numbers of our institution, the defeat of the seditious Whigs will be rendered more certain. Should your Lordship feel disposed to entertain views similar to my own, the Deputy Grand Master of England is now in your neighbourhood to give them efficiency." He would ask whether any man, on reading that paragraph, would not suppose that a letter had been addressed to him, involving the question of an alteration in the succession to the throne? When he read this he looked at the letters in his possession to see whether they would bear the construction that had been put upon them by others. He remembered in 1832 having received some letters from Colonel Fairman, and on referring to them he found that the extracts which had been read by Mr. Hume had been read in the most garbled and incorrect manner. He held the original letters from Colonel Fairman to him written in 1832. It was difficult, perhaps, to make their Lordships understand, without seeing the original letters themselves, the alterations, interpolations, and interlineations in the printed 1263 copy of the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons. He would therefore put the letters into the hands of the clerk at the table, that their Lordships might examine them, and see how completely they differed from the letters in the Report. Now, he knew nothing of Colonel Fairman, except his being, he supposed, an officer of the army. He never saw that individual, to his knowledge, and these were the only letters he had ever received from him. But seeing how much the letters in the printed Report differed from those in his possession, although purporting to be copies of the same letters, might it not be inferred that every thing coming from so incorrect a source partook of the same inaccuracies? There were no less than twenty-two differences between the printed letters and the originals. Not all important differences, certainly; but he had selected two or three that would give their Lordships an impression how very different might be the construction to be put on the letters addressed to him, from the construction on the letters in the Report. In the original letter addressed by Colonel Fairman to him, there was a passage running thus—"The abject slaves of a ferocious, revolutionary, and subversive Press." In the printed copy the passage ran thus:—"The abject slaves of a ferocious, sanguinary, and subversive Press." Now the words "sanguinary Press," were not in the letter addressed to him. In the original letter the words ran thus—"Unless men of influence and consideration immediately step forward as county Grand Masters," whilst in the printed copy the words were—"Unless men of stanch influence would immediately step forward as county Grand Masters." This, it was true, was not a very material difference; but it afforded an additional proof of the species of correctness which had been observed in the getting up of the evidence contained in the Report. In another instance, the words contained in Colonel Fairman's letter were—"In proportion to the increase of the members of our institution the defeat of the Whigs would be rendered more certain;" whilst in the printed copy the words were—"In proportion to the increase in the members of our institutions the defeat of the seditious Whigs would be rendered more certain." Here, it would be observed, that the induction of the word "seditious" made 1264 a very striking and very important difference. Surely these were proofs of how far any thing that this gentleman had ever written or brought forward could be depended upon. There were not less than twenty two different interlineations of this description. He asked whether in any Court of Justice in the kingdom evidence so garbled would be taken as conclusive against a party accused? Nay, he would ask whether such evidence would for a moment be entertained? The twenty-two differences between the original letters and the printed copies were not merely differences of words, but differences of sentences. The structure and meaning of whole sentences had been changed. He would read to their Lordships the first letter he had ever received from Colonel Fairman. It was dated 29th July, 1832, and began thus:—"As a stranger to your Lordship I have to apologise for this freedom" (this, he thought, was sufficient to establish the fact, that up to the date of this letter—namely, the 29th July, 1832, he (the Marquess of Londonderry) knew nothing of Colonel Fairman)—"I have to apologise for this freedom, which I am emboldened to take as being the organ of an institution, the last report of whose proceedings I have now the honour of inclosing to your Lordship." Now according to the best of his belief—speaking upon a recollection of circumstances which occurred four years ago—no report of the proceedings of any society was inclosed in this letter. He could not positively remember, but to the best of his belief the letter contained no enclosure. Colonel Fairman continued—"In a conversation I lately had the honour of having with his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, his Royal Highness was graciously pleased to inform me that he had written to your Lordship a few days ago on the subject." Now he wished to say—and he begged their Lordships' particular attention to the fact—that he declared upon his honour as a Peer, that from the time at which he had first been acquainted with his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, up to the moment at which he was then speaking, his Royal Highness never communicated to him, either in writing or verbally, any one circumstance respecting Orange societies, Orange politics, or any thing connected with Orangeism. This was in strict accordance with the high honour 1265 and delicacy of that illustrious Prince, who well knew what his feelings had been upon the Roman Catholic Question; and although there was hardly any other political question which had come under discussion during his career in Parliament upon which he had not had some communication with his Royal Highness, it so happened that in this instance of the Orange societies no communication had been made. The declaration of Colonel Fairman, therefore, that he (the Marquess of Londonderry) had heard from his Royal Highness upon the subject, he must pronounce to be positively erroneous. The next paragraph of Colonel Fairman's letter was in these words—"As this (meaning the Duke of Cumberland's communication) "probably might arise from a suggestion of mine to Lord Kenyon, who now happens to be in town." Now as the communication had not taken place, as nothing had been said to him upon the subject by his Royal Highness the Duke of "Cumberland, he could only conclude that the object of the writer in mentioning the name of that illustrious Prince, and describing himself as having been admitted to a private conversation with him, was, as being a perfect stranger to him (the Marquess of Londonderry), to give a notion of his importance, and to convey an idea of the confidence he enjoyed. The letter proceeded—As this probably might arise from a suggestion of mine to Lord Kenyon, who now happens to be in town, I am induced to be more explicit than perhaps I otherwise should have been. With Mr. Wright, of Sunderland, who was recently in London, I had some conversation on the great advantages that might result from an extension of such a society at this conjuncture. Conceiving its principles to be strictly in unison with those entertained by your Lordship, in the course of our communications your name was introduced, when that gentleman said, if the matter were taken up with spirit by you, the whole district would follow the example, and cheerfully join such an association. To urge it might be political for your Lordship to do so, in a personal sense, would be to offer you a very ill compliment; but to contemplate it, as shall presently be made to appear, in a patriotic view, the security of that part of the kingdom might be consolidated by such means. The pitmen would perhaps feel inclined to establish Lodges among themselves, which might operate as an additional stimulus to their loyalty, and would likewise prove a partial check against their entering into cabals hereafter, no less to the preservation of private property than to that 1266 of the public peace. Knowing that your Lordship has firmness to espouse the cause you approve, on this occasion I address you with the less reserve. When the altar and the throne are alike assailed—when infidelity and treason are boldly avowed—when a republic and a lord-protector are confidently spoken of—when, indeed, we have a Popish Cabinet and democratical Ministry, who, having given birth to a monster they can no longer control, are now alarmed at their own popularity, and are the abject slaves of a ferocious, revolutionary, and subversive press, little short of a miracle can work the salvation of our once happy country! It behoves us, nevertheless, to exercise our energies, and by measures at once prompt and vigorous, to stem the torrent that threatens to overwhelm us. By a rapid augmentation of our physical force, we might be able to assume a boldness of attitude which should command the respect of our Jacobinical rulers. What the Catholics and the Unionists have achieved by agitation and clamour in a factious cause, we might then be enabled to effect in a righteous one. If we prove not too strong for such a Government as the present is, such a Government will soon prove too strong for us; some arbitrary step would be taken in this case for the suspension of our meetings. Hence the necessity of our laying aside that non-resistance, that passive obedience, which has hitherto been religiously enforced to our own discomfiture. The brave Orangemen of Ireland rescued their country from rebellion, and their gallant brethren in England would as heroically redeem their own from such perils. On the one hand we have had minor difficulties to contend with, and less danger to surmount, though on the other hand we have not had the same encouragement, and an equal share of support from the higher orders. We have Lodges at Newcastle, Shields, Darlington, and round about, but they are merely trunks, without heads. Unless men of stanch influence and consideration would immediately step forward as county Grand Masters (I speak advisedly), it is of no manner of use for the classes in humble life to assemble for such purposes. The field is now open to your Lordship—the post of honour is exclusively your own. If, then, your Lordship would but profit of it, you would deserve well of this country, while at such a crisis you would confer fresh confidence on your own. In a long conversation. I had yesterday with Lord Longford, he intimated that the brethren of Ireland were determined to resist all attempts the Liberals might make to put them down; at the same time reproaching us for our lameness, in not affording an aid commensurate with the evils by which we were menaced. In proportion to an increase in the members of our institution, the defeat of the seditious Whigs will be rendered more certain. Should your Lordship feel disposed to entertain views similar to my own, the Deputy Grand Master of England is 1267 now in your neighbourhood to give them efficiency.To this letter he did not deem an immediate reply necessary, but in the course of two or three days he received another letter, which was in these terms:—Cannon-row, Westminster, 30th July, 1832.MY LORD MARQUESS—In my letter of Saturday I omitted to mention that we have the military with us as far as they are at liberty to avow their principles and sentiments; but since the lamented death of the Duke of York, every impediment has been thrown in the way of their holding a Lodge. The same observation that was applied to the colliers might be attached to the soldiery. As Orangemen, there would be an additional security for their allegiance and unalterable fidelity in times like the present, when revolutionary writers are striving to stir them up to open sedition and mutiny. In trespassing thus upon the attention of your Lordship, I am not so presumptuous as to suppose that anything urged by me could influence your conduct; but understanding the Duke of Cumberland has communicated with your Lordship on this subject. I felt it my duty to put you in possession of certain facts, with which you might not be acquainted.I have the honour to be,my Lord Marquess,Your Lordship's very respectful andobedient servant,W. B. FAIRMAN.To the Marquess of Londonderry.When this second letter came to hand, he thought it necessary that he should reply; and when he recollected the period at which this correspondence took place, and what his feelings at that time were—when he remembered the violent measures which were in agitation and in the course of adoption—when he remembered the Birmingham Union, the Political Unions, and the Trades Unions which were formed in every part of the kingdom—when he remembered the attacks which were made in this town, on the houses of persons who were opposed to reform—when he remembered that even the persons of such individuals were not safe—when all these things pressed upon his recollection, he had no hesitation in saying, that he did feel that if it were possible to establish loyal associations to counteract the effect of those of a liberal and democratic character, it would in every way be a thing most desirable to attain. With this feeling strong upon his mind, he gave to Colonel Fairman a fair and honest answer. He (the Marquess of Londonderry) had not retained a copy of that letter, and in consequence had been obliged, through the medium of a private friend, to 1268 apply to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) by whom it had been quoted in the other House, for a copy of it. This the hon. Gentleman had consented to give, and he was thus enabled to read it to their Lordships. It was in these terms:—Wynyard Park, August 8, 1832.SIR—I am honoured with your two communications of the 29th and 30th ult. You do me only justice in believing that I would most willingly embrace every opportunity, and do all in my power to espouse the cause and establish the institutions you allude to, in this part of the kingdom.When he expressed his readiness to facilitate, as far as possible, the establishment of the institutions alluded to, he never contemplated them in the shape of secret societies. If it had been his intention to introduce Orange societies into the north of England, he would naturally have first made himself master of the details of such societies. He would have attended the Orange societies in London, and have taken care to have had himself regularly and properly initiated as an Orangeman. But he had done nothing of the kind; and when he talked of lending his aid to establish institutions in the north, he meant only to establish institutions of such a nature and character as should unite the loyal and well-disposed part of the population in opposition to those who were carried away by the democratic spirit of the day. In his letter, in reply to Colonel Fairman, he added—But the present state of liberal Whig feeling in this very Whig county, and the very refractory and insubordinate state of the pitmen, entirely preclude the possibility of successful efforts at this juncture. I have had a full conversation and communication with Lord Kenyon on all this matter, who has been in my house these last two days, and I have no doubt he will convince his Royal Highness, as well as yourself, that the present moment is not the time when the object can be forwarded.I will lose no opportunity of embracing any opening that may arise; andI have the honour to be, Sir,Your very obedient servant,(Signed) "VANE LONDONDERRY.He thought that the way in which he there mentioned the conversation he had had with Lord Kenyon, who was then staying at his house for a few days to enjoy the company of a common friend of theirs, the late Bishop of Durham, afforded another pretty strong proof that previous to that time he had had no communication upon the subject with his Royal Highness the Duke of 1269 Cumberland. If such had been the fact, was it likely that he should have requested Lord Kenyon to communicate so and so to his Royal Highness? Shortly after he had written this letter to Colonel Fairman, he called upon Mr. Wright, of Sunderland, a solicitor of great respectability, and a man of very considerable ability, to ascertain the nature of the conversation which had taken place between him and Colonel Fairman, and also to learn what his views and feelings upon the subject were. Finding that Mr. Wright's name had been alluded to by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) who brought forward the subject of Orange Lodges in the other House the other evening, he (the Marquess of Londonderry) immediately wrote to that gentleman, and he would presently read to their Lordships the answer he had received. In the mean time he might observe, that up to the passing of the Reform Act Mr. Wright had been a great friend to Reform, Since that time, however, seeing to what an extent it was proposed to carry out the principle of innovation and change in all our institutions, Mr. Wright conceived that the best interests of the country were endangered, and, in consequence, like many other wise and prudent men, had become a Conservative. The letter which he addressed to Mr. Wright, was dated Feb. 26, 1836, and was in these terms:—DEAR SIR—You will see Mr. Hume's speech on Orange societies. He has brought forward a letter, in which allusion is made to some conversation Colonel Fairman had with you as to the establishing Orange Lodges amongst the pitmen. Pray do me the favour to inform me in writing whether you ever communicated the substance of that conversation to me; also if I ever had any conversation or communication with you whatever on the subject of establishing Orange Lodges amongst the pitmen, either at that or any subsequent time?Mr. Wright's Setter in reply was dated Feb. 28th, only two days after, and was in these terms:—MY DEAR LORD—I had the honour of receiving your Lordship's letter of the 26th inst. and in reply to your Lordship's inquiries, I beg to state that I never had any conversation with Colonel Fairman on the subject of the establishment of Orange Lodges amongst the pitmen, with whom, as your Lordship knows, I am in no manner acquainted; nor do I understand by the letter read by Mr. Hume, in his speech in which my name is mentioned, that any conversation with me as to the pitmen, is alleged by Colonel Fairman to have taken place. I recol- 1270 lect the time at which Colonel Fairman (to whom I was introduced in June or July, 1832) spoke to me of the public advantage he conceived would result from the establishment of Orange Lodges in Sunderland; and he asked me if your Lordship had much influence in that town? I expressed my opinion that your Lordship had much influence in Sunderland; but I doubted the necessity of establishing Orange Lodges there. It is possible it may have escaped your Lordship's recollection; but I remember in August, 1832, I was at Wynyard Park, on a visit to your Lordship, the very day Lord Kenyon left, and on the following day your Lordship mentioned to me that you had received letters from Colonel Fairman, soliciting your aid in the establishment of Orange Lodges in the north of England, and that you had written him an answer declining to interfere in the matter. I am certain this is the only conversation your Lordship and I ever bad upon the subject of Orange Lodges, and know, both from the manner in which your Lordship expressed yourself on that occasion, and from your never having alluded to the subject in conversation with me since, that you never entertained the idea of establishing Orange Lodges in the north of England. It is, however, only justice to Colonel Fairman to say, that in all his conversation with me he appeared to be a gentleman totally opposite in character to one who could entertain any treasonable designs, and a person incapable of uttering the expressions which I see by the newspapers are attributed to him.This, he thought, was a pretty strong corroboration of what he (the Marquess of Londonderry) had already stated as to the course he had taken upon the subject. The third letter he received from Colonel Fairman was dated Atkinson's Hotel, Glasgow, October 3d, 1833, and its only object was to inform him (the Marquess of Londonderry) that a grand Conservative dinner was to take place at Glasgow, and to request him to attend it. The writer added—"I am now upon my way to the Duke of Gordon's, where an answer from your Lordship will reach me, which I will lose no time in communicating to the Secretary." To this letter, as far as he could remember, he replied, that he should have the greatest satisfaction in attending the meeting at Glasgow, and he believed he wrote to the Duke of Gordon at the same time, or about the same time, to say that he was desirous to use every effort in his power to organize loyal and constitutional associations to counteract what he conceived to be the baneful influence of the Liberal and Radical associations which had become so general in every part of the kingdom—associations which the Government 1271 of the day refused to put down. He (the Marquess of Londonderry) had called upon the noble Earl, who then presided at the head of the Government, to take some steps for the suppression of these associations; but the only answer he could obtain was, that they would subside by themselves. Finding, from this short reply, that nothing was to be done to put down these associations, he thought he should only be acting in the upright feeling of a loyal subject if he endeavoured to meet the system of organisation which had been commenced on the one side, by establishing a similar system on the other. As the letters he had read—which were all that had ever passed between him and Colonel Fairman—were dated in the years 1832 and 1833, he thought that their Lordships, and even the noble Viscount (Melbourne) opposite would admit, that there could be no possible connexion between them and the alleged project for altering the succession to the throne, which was not supposed to have been entered into until the year 1835. He thought that the noble Viscount, would admit, that (his part of the case was quite clear with respect to the variations between the original letters and those read in the House of Commons; supposing Colonel Fairman to have been guilty of these inaccuracies—supposing the inaccuracies themselves were apparent, there was still another circumstance of a more important character for their Lordships to consider. He asked their Lordships what they would think of an individual who had got these private letters and these private answers into his possession, to be produced—not at the moment of his obtaining them—but at some other convenient opportunity? Colonel Fairman's letters were produced, he supposed, by the order of the House of Commons, on the inquiry before the Committee appointed by that House to investigate the Report of Orange, societies; but their Lordships would observe, that the hon. Member for Middlesex, in his statement on that subject a short time since, in the other House, declared that he had only obtained possession of his (the Marquess of Londonderry's) reply to those letters a few hours before he went down to the House and opened the debate. Now he begged their Lordships to look a little to the facts. It was fortunate, perhaps, that the Member for Middlesex did, under any circumstancess, get that letter of his into his pos- 1272 session: because, otherwise, supposing that there had been no answer to Colonel Fairman's letter, the hon. Member in his usual liberal manner might have said, "Oh! here is the proposition made to Lord Londonderry, but there is no answer, and, therefore, of course, Lord Londonderry has assented and agreed to all the propositions which Colonel Fairman laid before him." By good fortune, therefore, not by the base and atrocious conduct of some one or other, this letter of his had come up; and as the Member for Middlesex had read a portion of it on a former occasion in another place, he (Lord Londonderry) had felt compelled to trouble their Lordships with the whole of it that evening. But he asked their Lordships bow it was possible that that letter could have got into the hon. Gentleman's possession? Now, he would put a case to the noble Viscount (Viscount Melbourne) similar in all respects to that which had occurred between him and Colonel Fairman. A great deal of mystery hung over the production of the letter of which the Member for Middlesex got possession at so very opportune a moment. He could not charge Colonel Fairman with having delivered up to his (the Marquess of Londonderry's) political enemies what he had written to him privately; but yet, by some strange circumstance or other, a letter which he had so written to him privately, at the end of four years, was for the first time brought to light at the very moment it was wanted by the Member for Middlesex. He would now put his case to the noble Viscount (Viscount Melbourne), who though not Grand Master of an Orange Lodge, was Grand Master of the British Government, with a Deputy Grand Master, under whose dominion he feared he was too much placed. As Grand Master of the Government, the noble Viscount of course would have a Secretary. Now that Secretary might be a very clever fellow, but he might also be a very deep one—he might be an admirable writer—he might write in the noble Viscount's name—he might receive answers to letters so written, and keep them in his own possession—he might write philippics in the newspapers against the noble Viscount's political adversaries—all these things he might do; but in the end it might turn out that the Secretary had deceived the noble Viscount very much, and on any slight difference between them, he might desert the noble 1273 Viscount, and having certain letters in his possession, might, four years afterwards, place those letters in the hands of one of the noble Viscount's political opponents to be used in debate against him. Supposing, for instance, that he (the Marquess of Londonderry), one of the noble Viscount's political opponents, had got hold of a number of his private letters surreptitiously, by purchase or otherwise, what would their Lordships think of him if he came into that House and read those private letters without giving the noble Viscount any notice that he was going to do so—without giving him the means in any shape of showing how he had been deceived, and upon the strength of particular passages contained in those letters, drew insinuations or founded charges against the noble Viscount? What would their Lordships think of him if he were to take such a course? Why, they would treat him with all the contempt and ignominy which such a proceeding would deserve. How, then, was such conduct to be defended in others? Would the noble Viscount get up in that House to vindicate the conduct of his partisans—those to whom he owed his political existence? It was to be observed that this was not a solitary instance of groundless accusations being brought against Conservative Peers. A similar license had been permitted to another individual. He understood that in his own particular instance a sort of joint stock affair was made of it between the hon. Member for Middlesex and the learned Member for Dublin. These were the acknowledged friends of the Government. He said, therefore, that the noble Viscount at the head of the Government was bound to tell the House whether he approved of this mode of attack upon individual character—whether he thought it honourable—whether he thought it did his Government credit. If he were to look at the animus of the attack, he should think that it was a good deal connected with an arrow which some time since was shot from the same quiver, when the attention of the other House was called to the part which he (the Marquess of Londonderry) had taken at the great loyal and Protestant assembly which took place in the north of Ireland in 1834. He gloried in the part he took on that occasion; but what was the consequence? From that time forth he was a marked man, and the object of the grossest and most malignant attacks, 1274 ever and again repeated, in the other House of Parliament. It was impossible, indeed, that the malignity of those attacks could be surpassed by anything except the boast which was made of their success in Ireland. Such was the treatment of those who honestly upheld the loyal and Protestant interest in that country. And thus again it happened, that the discussion of the Orange Lodge question was not the only object contemplated by the hon. Member for Middlesex when he brought forward his motion in the other House. He believed that the determination, if possible, to get rid of Orange societies, was fixed in the minds of Ministers previous to the motion of Mr. Hume—previous to that hon. Gentleman's moving on the subject at all; but he believed that in the minds of that hon. Gentleman and of some others with whom the Government was associated, there was mixed up with a desire to debate the Orange Lodge question, a strong desire to attack some of the noble Lords who sat in that House, It belonged to him, and it belonged to the noble Viscount opposite to stand up and vindicate the Peers. Coupling the attacks made by the learned Member for Dublin on that branch of the legislature, with what was brought forward by the Member for Middlesex the other night, he begged to ask distinctly whether the noble Viscount did not feel that this combination between these two individuals was intended to go a little further than the mere Orange question? He hoped that the noble Viscount (Viscount Melbourne) would express his approbation or disapprobation of such language as that which he was about to read—language attributed, by the ordinary channels of information, to the hon. Member for Middlesex—"I must consider the Lords as destitute of a fellow-feeling for their countrymen, as out of the pale of general society. The time is come when this is the universal conviction of the community. I am ready to repeat the assertion. This state of things cannot last long. The people are opposed to the Lords; the intelligence and respectability of the country are against them. This is my conviction." When the hon. Member for Middlesex made those remarks, he must have forgotten the recent elections for Northamptonshire and several other parts of the country, where the people had elected the very persons who were anxious to retain the British Constitution 1275 in the shape at which it at present existed. The general development of the hon. Member for Middlesex's speech in the other House of Parliament was by no means received in the way in which that hon. Member expected; but he had been informed that his Majesty's Ministers did nothing but cheer. He must conclude, therefore, that the whole affair was backed up, approved, and applauded by them. It was therefore the more necessary for him to take his stand in that House, and endeavour to extort from his Majesty's Ministers, which he hoped and trusted he should do, a declaration of the mode and manner in which the whole subject was brought forward. He could not sit down without saying a few words upon the subject of the suppression of Orange societies in Ireland. His Majesty having been pleased to take the advice of his Ministers and of the Commons upon that subject, God forbid that he should say anything calculated to breed dissatisfaction or discontent! But let the noble Lords opposite, and let the Government seriously reflect how much the success of their new policy must depend upon the exertions of his noble Friend, the noble Earl (Roden) near him. He begged those noble Lords and the Government to remember what the Protestants of Ulster did in 1834. He trusted in God that the measure might be successful, and that it might lead to the establishment of that sort of union in Ireland, without which he believed in his conscience Ireland would not long remain attached to the British Crown. But as the noble Viscount had been so strenuous and so prompt in putting down one party, let him ask whether he would use the exertions—whether he would employ the same power to put down Radicalism? Dared the noble Viscount to take such a course?—Dared he to shake off the incubus which weighed upon him now, depressing his energies and warping his power? Let the noble Viscount come down with such a declaration, and he might depend upon it that he would meet with firm and honest supporters on that side of the House.—Though of late he and the noble Viscount had been deeply opposed in political opinions, yet remembering old and intimate associations, and knowing the honourable and candid mind of the noble Viscount, he declared it was not from any party feeling that he made this appeal to him, 1276 but from a conscientious conviction that the position in which Ireland stood at this moment was of a highly dangerous description, and if the present policy were pursued, would be fatal to the interests of both countries. Let it not be supposed that he spoke alone from his own feeble and imperfect judgment upon that point. He had received information from Ireland, from one of the best men in that country; and as the noble Viscount seemed the other night to treat what he had said with a sort of slight, because, he supposed, it was not substantiated, he should beg leave, before he sat down, to read a letter which he had that very day received from Ireland. It was an interesting letter, for it proceeded from a man whose superior integrity or intelligence he challenged any one to produce. The letter which the noble Marquess read was as follows:—"The gratuitous insult put upon the Orangemen in Ireland by the exclusive introduction of that body into the address of the House of Commons, at the dictation of a well-known individual, has been strongly felt in Ireland; and some unwise and thoughtless young men who had assembled in the Grand Orange Lodge have injudiciously passed a vote of censure on the occasion; but, you may rest assured, that the good sense of the body at large will prevail, and that the Orange institution will be dissolved." Such were the principles and such was the practice of Orangemen. They considered the expressed wish of the Sovereign, solemnly delivered, as binding upon them as a law; and he was authorized to state the fact to their Lordships, and draw a comparison between the conduct of the Orangemen and the conduct on former occasions of their opponents. When his Majesty's present Ministers came into power, he had declared that he entertained much more apprehension of danger to the Protestant interest in Ireland from the use which would be made of the royal prerogative in that country, than from any positive legislative measure. His view had been borne out by the result. At that very moment a severe penal code was enforced in Ireland against the Protestants; and those alone were appointed to fill offices of dignity who were political Papists, and religiously intolerant. He had always maintained that Catholics ought not to be excluded from office any more than Protestants. But was Ireland to be now 1277 placed in such a situation that those who had been Orangemen, and who might therefore be deemed ultra Protestants, were never to hold office, but were to be passed over without notice by Government? If that was the course to be pursued, it would be pursued in direct contradiction of the general principles on which they had asserted the eligibility of Catholics to civil offices. The noble Marquess concluded by saying, that he was very grateful to their Lordships for the attention with which they had listened to him while he had endeavoured to express his sentiments on the subject, and to exculpate other noble Lords as well as himself from the charges which, by the most base, disgraceful, scandalous, and unworthy means, had been prepared against them.
§ Viscount Melbourne
believed there could be no possible objection to the noble Lord's motion, and not intending to oppose, he should have wished, before addressing their Lordships, to have heard all that could have been urged on the subject which the noble Marquess had brought under their Lordships' attention, especially as he understood some objections were to have been made to the course which his Majesty's Government had taken in reference to that subject. But he felt himself bound at once to say something in reference to what had fallen from the noble Lord in a speech which was of a disorderly character, for the greater part of it consisted in allusions to the proceedings in the other House—a practice that would be most inconvenient, and would lead to endless disputes and altercations. He was not, however, inclined to interfere, because the noble Lord was determined to consider himself as accused, and would enter on his defence. He had said on a former occasion, that the noble Marquess stood completely exculpated, and that there was nothing against which he had to defend himself. But although he was of that opinion when the noble Marquess intimated his intention of making the speech which he had just made, he could not say that he was precisely of that opinion now that he had heard the noble Marquess's defence. In his (Lord Melbourne's) opinion the noble Marquess had made out a stronger case against himself than had existed before. He was exceedingly unwilling to enter into any discussion; for it was his most anxious wish 1278 that all which had passed might be forgotten; that it might all be buried and lost. That happy consummation appeared to be obtained by one of the letters which the noble Marquess had read, although there were parts of that letter of which he could not approve. He was always prepared to make the fullest allowance for the acts of human beings under excitement such as that to which the noble Marquess had referred as existing in the year 1832. It was not surprising that the noble Marquess should be anxious to bring together in Ireland at that period as many persons as he could collect who concurred with him in the principles which he supported. But, as to Colonel Fairman's letter to the noble Marquess, although he willingly admitted, that unless that letter contained something which it would be criminal to conceal, it could not possibly inculpate the noble Marquess, who was merely the receiver of it, he (Lord Melbourne) should be very sorry to be made responsible for all the absurd and extravagant letters which were sent to him. But he begged to say, that the letters of Colonel Fairman contained some very strong passages. They pointed distinctly to resistance to his Majesty's Government. These passages appeared more strong, when it was recollected that they were written by a soldier, and to a noble Lord who had himself been a soldier; and yet, in reply, the noble Marquess said nothing about those passages. He merely stated his anxiety to co-operate with those who were engaged in the support of Protestant interests; and that although the noble Marquess had stated that he knew one of the alleged facts in the letter to be false, namely, that he had received any communication from an illustrious Duke on the subject, be could not therefore wholly exonerate the noble Marquess on the subject. The noble Marquess had extensively censured the course which had been pursued with reference to the Orange societies. There was only one part of that course for which his Majesty's Government was responsible; namely, the Address to his Majesty from the House of Commons, or rather the King's answer to that Address. He (Lord Melbourne) repeated, however, that he was most anxious to dismiss the whole subject. He was averse to all societies of a secret character. Whether they were corresponding societies or political unions; whether they were 1279 presided over by Princes of the Blood or only by operative mechanics, he had always considered—although he was aware that they might comprehend many men of the highest honour and sincerity—that they were dangerous. The members of such societies did not know what they had done, what they were doing, or what they might do. And when the whole conduct of the society was presented to their view, they were surprised at the proceedings of which they, without being aware of it, had been partakers. Honourable men, in such societies, unavoidably got into the hands of men, of agents, who were seldom persons of the greatest discretion, of the purest motives, or of the best conduct. But, although he had always disapproved of such associations, he had always felt the great difficulty of putting them down. He trusted, however, that on the present occasion, the feeling which had been manifested on all sides, and the course which had been pursued by the leaders of the society in question, would produce results much more sure and satisfactory than could have been obtained by any positive law. Being accomplished in that manner, it would be much more advantageous to the country, and would effect more certain and permanent good. The noble Marquess complained of the exclusive system which at present prevailed in Ireland. He (Lord Melbourne) did not believe in the existence of such a system. He was always desirous that patronage should be exercised with as little party influence as possible. He had always lamented the necessity that a popular Government should be conducted by a party; and that the Sovereign and the country should thereby be deprived of the assistance of so many men who were qualified to render the State essential services. But it was evident that every Government must confide in those who entertained political opinions similar to their own. As far, therefore, as the patronage of the Government in Ireland might have been so exercised (that it was so exercised to an unjustifiable extent he utterly denied), that was not their fault or crime; it was attributable to those individuals who either had separated themselves from the Government to which they were formerly attached, or who had set themselves to oppose that Government in a manner which the rules of the House would not allow him to call factious, but which was 1280 certainly injurious to the country. The noble Marquess asked if individual who had belonged to Orange Lodges were henceforward to be excluded, on principle, from any official situation? His answer was, undoubtedly not—unquestionably not. If such a course were pursued, it would introduce a system of exclusion and disabilities which he would be the last man in the world to support. The Lord-Lieutenant might not think it his duty to employ men who conceived themselves so bound by their former character as Orangemen, that they must act in complete conformity to that character; but he (Viscount Melbourne) was quite convinced that nothing further than that was intended; for to exclude individuals from office, simply because they had once belonged to Orange Societies, would be great injustice. He must again declare the gratification which he felt at the sentiments which had been expressed, and the disposition which had been manifested, to concur in the intimation contained in the Address of the House of Commons, and in his Majesty's Answer; and he hoped that they should now for ever get rid of this painful and distressing subject.
The Marquess of Londonderry
observed, that the expression in his letter referred to the Government. It was that, "by a rapid augmentation of our physical force, we might be able to assume a boldness of attitude which should command the respect of our Jacobinical rulers."
His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland
said, I trust that I shall be excused for addressing to your Lordships a few words, and I assure you they shall be very few; but your Lordships would think me unworthy of a seat in this House, if, standing in the predicament in which I do, I did not boldly, manfully, and distinctly state my feelings upon the present occasion, especially as your Lordships have unfortunately heard my name so often made use of on the present occasion—not that I shrink from one single act I have done, or from one single word that I have said; for, thank God, I have done nothing, nor said anything that I need be ashamed or afraid of. It is idle for me to tell you, that I have been, for the last six months, abused, accused, and treated in the most cruel manner that ever human being was treated—nay, if what has been said of me were true, instead of standing here in my place as I now am, a Member of 1281 your Lordships' House, I ought to be at that Bar for the crime of high treason. No man will believe, that surrounded by such men as are around me, I could have been such a madman as to have had such ideas as are imputed to me. My Lords, ever since I have had the honour of a seat in this House, I have been the firmest, strongest, most determined supporter of all legitimate Government. I am convinced that if any madman could have the idea, or had the idea of proposing such a measure, there is not any one of those noble Lords near me, that would not be ready, as I am, to sacrifice the last drop of our blood in defence of the innocent person. It is not we who have entertained the idea, but those persons who would not only not be satisfied with the dethronement of the Sovereign, but would overturn the Monarchy if they could. "Measures, not men," are my cry; and if any of the party with whom I have been acting, should in any way deviate from their principles, I should be the first man to oppose them. I certainly was, and I do not deny myself to have been, the Grand Master of the Orange Lodges. I did not seek that post or wish for it. It was offered to me, and I did not accept it until I had the full concurrence of his late Majesty, George 4th, who not only said to me, that he should be glad I did accept it, but that he knew that it was in good hands. Upon that I accepted it, and I appeal to every Orangeman, either in this country or in Ireland, if I have not been a zealous, true, and honest Orangeman, What are the fundamental principles of Orangeism? "Fear God; honour the King." I cannot give a stronger proof that I have been true to my principles, than that, even prior to the information given me by Lord John Russell, I had already come to the re solution of complying with the Resolution of the House of Commons. At the time I first became Grand Master of the Orange Societies, circumstances were widely different from what they now are. Your Lordships must remember all the changes that have taken place since 1827, when I was first appointed Grand Master. Your Lordships know that there never was a more strong or firm supporter of the Protestant interest than the individual who is now addressing you, and I became Grand Master solely with the object of supporting the Protestant cause in Ireland—a cause which I 1282 considered to be in the greatest possible danger. It is my feeling, and I am convinced of it. I would have done everything in my power to keep the Protestants of Ireland and England together. That was the sole and only object that I had at heart, and from the moment that I heard that his Majesty had discountenanced the Orange Lodges, it was my duty, strict to my principles, to give up that which I thought was disapproved of. At the same time I say that I never shall change those principles. I declare, my Lords, that I look upon the Protestant cause in Ireland to be in the greatest danger; and moreover, my Lords, you must excuse me for saying, that I am equally afraid of the Protestant cause in this country. I beg distinctly to say, that I mean nothing personal; but when I come to see the things that have taken place within the last three weeks, I must say, that I think there is not a Protestant in this country who must not feel alarm. After what has been stated, I shall not detain your Lordships longer, except to say, that I will never flinch from the support of the Protestant interest.
§ Lord Wynford
wished to vindicate himself from the charges brought against him, and at the same time could not help treating them with the contempt which they deserved. His connexion with the Orange Lodges was a short one. He became a member about three years ago. He was told by the illustrious Duke, who for many years had honoured him with, his friendship, that the object of the Lodge was to inculcate true loyal principles, and to support the Protestant interest throughout the kingdom. He asked if there were any secrets or oaths, and was told there were not, and then said that he had no objection to become an Orangeman. He had attended the lodge but three times, and was ready to declare, upon his honour, that upon no one occasion had he ever heard principles inconsistent with that which was the foundation of Orange Institutions, viz. the principle of supporting the illustrious family now upon the Throne. He had been wickedly and infamously charged in another place with conspiring with his noble Friend, who sat behind him, (Lord Kenyon) to change the succession to the Throne. Their Lordships would naturally suppose that such a charge would be made upon some evidence. He had caused the report to 1283 be examined, and no such letter was to be found upon which the charge was made. He should like to know how any person could excuse himself for charging another with treason against the country, merely upon a letter, which he knew could not be proved, and dared not avow the source from which it was obtained. If that person would say where he had obtained it, then he would tell some other secrets which that person was informed of, but which the world did not know. The letter of Colonel Fairman was written full seven months before he was an Orange-man, and before he had any idea of becoming an Orangeman. [The noble Lord read the letter.] He knew that from the honest manly course which the illustrious Duke had always pursued, in support of those principles which he had ever avowed, it was not unlikely that in a mixed company he would meet with enemies, and that if any indiscreet man had proposed the health of the illustrious Duke in such a company, it was not unlikely that it would have been turned to bad purposes. Remembering the duty which he owed to the family of the illustrious Duke, not only as a subject, but as an individual, he told Colonel Fairman not to make this appeal, except in the presence of those whom he knew would answer it in the manner in which it ought to be answered. Upon this was founded the charge of high treason against him. It might be possible that an individual entertained angry feelings against him, and he (Lord Wynford) knew that individual did entertain angry feelings, but it was not he who placed that individual in the situation in which he was placed. The angry feelings which that person entertained towards him (Lord Wynford) no doubt, worked him up to put the construction which he did upon the letter. He (Lord Wynford) might have written a great number of absurd letters, but he was sure that no man whose mind was not perverted by some sense of supposed injury could possibly have put the wicked construction which was put upon these letters. As to Orange Lodges in the army, he denied that he had ever been present on an occasion when Orange Lodges in the army were proposed. There was some talk about establishing an Orange Lodge at Rome, but, most unquestionably, he had no hand in that. The first time he heard of Orange Lodges in the army was from 1284 the letter of the illustrious Duke, and he (Lord Wynford) was the person who proposed a vote of thanks to him for having, after the Commander-in-Chief's order had been issued, put an end to these Orange Lodges.
The Duke of Cumberland
I never did consent to an Orange lodge in the army. On the contrary, when it was proposed to me that Orange Lodges should be instituted in the army, I distinctly said, that according to my military principles, no Lodge ought to exist either in the army or navy.
§ Lord Wynford
thought that some had been instituted. He was a party to a resolution that no officer of the society should ever think of instituting an Orange Lodge in any regiment or ship of war; because they all thought that, notwithstanding the principles inculcated by Orange Lodges were such as were calculated to make men good subjects, the institution was unfit for the discipline of the army.
The Earl of Roden
was desirous of addressing their Lordships upon the present, and he would say one of the most important occasions, upon which he had ever felt himself called upon to address the House. He was fully sensible of the responsibility of the situation in which he stood, and of the duty he owed to those with whom he was connected. He could not but express his sincere gratitude to the noble Lord, the Marquess of Londonderry, for having postponed his motion, and thereby afforded him (Lord Roden) an opportunity of addressing the House. Connected as he had been, for some years, with the Orange institution of Ireland—well acquainted as he was with those principles upon which it had been established, and sincerely attached as he must be to the sacred cause which it had espoused, he should indeed lament that any opportunity should have been given to any individual to enter upon any subject connected with the interests of this society, or of misrepresenting what its objects were, if he were not to be present, in order to answer them. But no such misrepresentations, no such insinuations, had been made by any noble Lord within those walls. There had not been, and with truth there could not be, any insinuation made against the honour, the integrity, or the loyalty of the Orange institution of Ireland. There however might 1285 be, and he was free to admit that there was, very great difference of opinion amongst many excellent and valuable men as to the expediency of having such an institution in existence. While that might have been the case with respect to their Lordships' House, there had been elsewhere charges brought against that institution, which he would venture to assert were as strongly marked by vulgar abuse as they were conspicuous for their malignity and falsehood. Such statements as had gone forth through the medium of the public press—he would not say from whom, or from what quarter—never were surpassed in falsehood and malignity. He should occupy more of their Lordships' time than became him, were he to go through these charges verbatim et seriatim, but there was one, although it had been alluded to by the illustrious Duke, as well as the noble Lord who spoke last, to which, notwithstanding, he must also take the liberty of referring, as a member of the loyal Orange institution in Ireland. It had been stated—had gone the round of all the public prints, and had been asserted with such a degree of effrontery as to have gained it the belief, not only of the ignorant, but of well-informed men—that it was the intention, not only of the noble Lord and the illustrious Duke, but of the Orange society itself, to endeavour to change the succession to the throne of these realms. He really did not imagine that such a ridiculous idea could have been harboured in the mind of any man possessing the least claim to common sense, or having one grain of common honesty in his composition. If he could have supposed such a thing possible, would it not have been his duty, and would he not have felt himself called upon, in common justice, to claim from their Lordships the appointment of a Committee up-stairs to examine upon oath into these charges, and upon oath to prove triumphantly that they were infamous calumnies? It was not, however, for him to stand up in the House of Lords, in order to establish the loyalty of the Protestants of Ireland. It was not for him, at that time of day, to claim from their Lordships an acknowledgment of the attachment, fidelity, and loyalty of the Protestants of Ireland to their various sovereigns, from the reign of Elizabeth down to the present period. He was able to refer them to the history of the country 1286 for the proof of that attachment, in which their Lordships would find a record of their achievements inscribed in every line of it. If it were necessary, he could also refer their Lordships to more modern times. In fact, in every period they would find, whatever might be the question, whether the support of the British interests, or the preservation of the legislative Union between the two countries—whether it was in the year 1793, that of 1798, the year 1803, or whether it was at a more recent date, no matter at what time, or upon what occasion, provided the interests of the British empire were assailed—the Orangemen of Ireland threw themselves into the breach, and were the first to sacrifice all they possessed, in order to prove the sincerity of their oath of allegiance to the heirs of the House of Hanover, He was induced to make these statements in. consequence of the vile accusations which had been made against that loyal body, and now he would beg leave to ask for a moment who were their accusers? They were individuals who were sworn to protect the Protestant church in Ireland, and who were, notwithstanding, doing all they could to undermine it, and to starve the clergy who were the ministers of that church. Who were their assailants upon that head? Why, those very demagogues who a short time ago were fawning and flattering those Orangemen whom they were now anxious to destroy, but whom they were then endeavouring to induce to join them for a repeal of the Union. But they found those Orangemen too loyal to their own cause. They found that they would not listen to the suggestions of their pretended friends, because they well knew that the proposition meant nothing short of a dismemberment of the British empire. Again, he asked, who were their slanderers? Those very agitators who knew the power and the moral worth of the Protestants of Ireland—who were aware of the power, which the Protestant cause had received from the brotherhood of the Orange society, and who found that the members of that society were, and ever had been, the insurmountable barrier to their revolutionary intentions. He remembered having heard it said, that in ancient times, when one had done Rome a service, and was falsely accused, he pointed to the Capitol, thereby calling forth the recollection of his deeds, which constituted a sufficient answer to the charge which had been made against 1287 him, and so with the Protestants of Ireland. They, however, could do more; they could justly say, that they had served their country in its deepest peril, and in corroboration of the fact, point to the province of Ulster, and give an answer to the calumnies circulated by their enemies, in the tranquillity and prosperity of that Pro-test ant portion of the country. He was speaking warmly on the subject, but he also felt warmly. He was ready to admit, that the Orange institution, or any such institution, using secret signs, or consisting of any affiliated members, was not desirable to be maintained in any country which could be considered in a wholesome state, or in which life and property could be said to meet with a just protection, and in which the Executive was found to deal out with an impartial hand the favours that belonged to the Government. In such a country he readily admitted that an institution of the nature of the Orange society in Ireland might not have a beneficial tendency. But could that be said of Ireland? Was the law vindicated there? No such thing. It lay a dead letter upon the statute-book. Were, then, the lives or the property of his Majesty's loyal Protestant subjects in Ireland safe, or were they protected by the Government of the country? In answer, he would refer their Lordships to the murders which were daily occurring, as appeared by the newspapers, and to the state of the Protestant clergy. What were the scenes continually presenting themselves to public attention? They were scenes which plainly indicated the want of protection to life and property in Ireland; even the common process-servers were not safe from the hand of the assassin, who thus prevented the establishing of legal rights. He would refer their Lordships, as an instance, to the case of Mr. Beresford, by whom an application to the Executive for the protection of a process-server was made. The necessary aid, however, was refused, the consequence of which was that the process-server was murdered. There were many cases of this kind, in which were contained grave and weighty charges against the Government of Ireland—charges which he hoped the noble Lord (Plunkett), when he should stand up in his place in that House, would explain. The policy of the Irish Government towards the radical party in that country would be found to be nothing more than a sop to Cerberus; for, instead of 1288 pacifying them, it would more than anything else that could be adopted, have the effect of urging them on. The Protestants of the country conceived, and justly conceived, that they were left to themselves. The first impulse of nature taught them to awaken to their own preservation, and, on finding themselves deserted, they naturally became united; and unless their Lordships were prepared to see the dismemberment of the empire at large, they would be obliged to take some other means than those now in operation for the prevention of so woeful and calamitous an event. The noble Viscount, when speaking of the Orange Society, did not seem to be aware of the feeling- that existed amongst the lower classes of Protestants connected with that institution in Ireland, in consequence of the course his Government was pursuing. Neither, perhaps, was the noble Viscount aware that the Orange institution had its origin amongst the humbler classes, and that it was on account of other societies having been first established, and on account of the great depredations those societies continued to commit upon the Protestants of the day, that they deemed it necessary to establish in their defence the Orange institution. That institution had "grown with its growth," and gradually increased in the affections of the people. The Government, by adopting the course mentioned in his Majesty's reply, would, in his opinion, set an example, and adopt a precedent which before long might be brought against their Lordships' own House; nay, even to the destruction of the Constitution itself. He could not avoid saying that his Majesty's Ministers would have pursued a much more fair and regular course had they brought forward a Bill on the subject of the Orange society. It was now five years since he had joined the institution, and he did so because he perceived at the time that the Orange societies were most calculated to preserve and maintain Protestant interests in Ireland. He still thought similarly; he still thought them of the greatest utility to the country; but, as a loyal subject, he was ready to attend to any wish which his Sovereign might express. He at the same time thought that his Majesty's Ministers had given his Majesty very bad advice indeed, when they advised him to give such an answer to the House of Commons' address; but, as he said before, it was the sincere wish of his heart to bow to his Majesty's 1289 decision, whatever it might be. He did not know whether their Lordships were aware that no one individual had the power to dissolve the Orange institution, but such was the fact. That power rested solely in the Grand Orange Lodge, upon being duly and properly convened for the purpose. A meeting of that Lodge was now convened for the 14th of nest month, to take into consideration what course ought to be pursued under the present exigencies of the society, and be conceived the best mode in which he could evince his allegiance to his Sovereign, his attachment to his brethren, and his duty to his country, would be in attending that meeting in person, and expressing his sentiments, whatever they might be, upon the subject. Their Lordships could not possibly understand the nature of the union which existed between the members of the Orange society. It was an union of affection and brotherhood, which he could not undertake to describe. That brotherhood might cease—it probably would cease—but he trusted the principles upon which it had been founded never would. It was well for those who could look beyond the politics of time, and see over all such transactions a great master-hand causing all things to work together for good, according to the counsel of his own will; and he trusted that his Protestant brethren in Ireland would remember, under all the trials to which they were now subjected, and to which they might still be exposed, the source whence their former deliverances had arisen, and the power of that Providence who had so often manifested his care over them for the sake of his own righteous cause. He should feel it his duty, as he had said, to attend the meeting of the 14th of April, when he should declare that line of conduct which, desirous as he was to secure the tranquillity and promote the best interests of the country, he was anxious to adopt. What the effect of his recommendation might be he could not, of course, pretend to say; but he knew the affection which his Protestant brethren had towards him, for which he owed them a debt of gratitude he never could repay, and which should never cease to be felt and owned while life itself remained. Having said thus much in vindication of his own conduct, he hoped their Lordships would forgive him for taking up so much of their time on the present occasion.
observed, no one could 1290 entertain a stronger sense of satisfaction than he did at the determination at which the noble Lord had arrived, with respect to the course which he should pursue at the meeting of the Orange Lodges in Ireland; but he could not help expressing his regret that the noble Lord, having most properly arrived at that conclusion, had, in a great part of the address made to their Lordships, introduced topics which he considered most unnecessary, and which, though they might not be intended for such a purpose, were, nevertheless, well calculated to prevent that advice which the noble Earl had ultimately determined to give to the body from being so efficacious as if they had not been so strongly dwelt upon. It was quite fair for every person belonging to that association to feel an anxiety to state the motives, and express the opinions by which he is actuated in coming to the conclusion of dissolving this society. It was a great mistake to suppose that any person interested in the welfare of Ireland, or the welfare of the empire, could feel disposed to act so mean a part as either to entertain or express any sentiment of triumph at the dissolution of the society. It was no less a mistake to imagine that the dissolution was the result of a trial of strength between Protestants and Roman Catholics, The resolutions addressed to the Throne by the House of Commons were passed by a Protestant House of Commons—nine-tenths of the Members belonging to which were Protestants, and not one-tenth of which recognised the Roman Catholic religion. He considered the dissolution of Orange Lodges as the triumph, not of Roman Catholics over Protestants, but he looked on it as the triumph of Protestants and Catholics, as well as of the law itself, over an institution which had for its open and professed object the subversion of the law. It could not be expected that he should enter into a discussion of all the topics which the noble Lord had introduced, in his opinion, most unnecessarily into his speech, or at all to refer to the spirit and temper in which the noble Lord had alluded to the course pursued by a noble Friend of his (Lord John Russell), and the wise, statesmanlike, just, and successful manner in which he proposed the settlement of this important question. He was most unwilling to disturb the unanimity of feeling which followed his noble Friend's proposition, There was certainly no praise too 1291 great to bestow upon those who belonged to this society, and who constituted, he believed, a large proportion of its numbers, who acceded to the resolution for its suppression. He had ever been, since the first institution of this association, a determined opponent of it; but never at any time, or upon any occasion, had he ever disparaged the motives of the great proportion of the honourable and respectable persons who belonged to it. They had, in his opinion, been acting under very mistaken views, and under very strong and unfounded prejudices, but never had he attributed to the great majority of those who had entered into that association, any unworthy or dishonourable motives. He believed it was their conscientious opinion—a very mistaken opinion as he conceived—that they were supporting by their confederacy the Protestant interest. If he could not give the Orangemen the praise of wisdom and discretion in their proceedings, he most willingly and readily subscribed to their sense of propriety and honour. He could not believe that such men could for a moment entertain so wild and frantic a scheme as the disturbance of the succession; but absolving them altogether from such a suspicion, they could not be considered as relieved from the charge of allying themselves to an institution which was pernicious to the best interests of the country. It appeared to him most erroneous to suppose that the objection to this society rested merely on the fact of its using secret signs, and of its being capable of being converted to the purposes of outrage and disturbance. The objection to this association was, that it was an exclusively religious society, a society calculated to oppose interminably the Protestant interest in Ireland to the Roman Catholic interest, and to divide the people in that country into two hostile and unrelenting factions, instead of being united in one body. That was the true principle on which this society was put down. He hailed the resolutions which embodied that principle as affording at least the possible return of peace and tranquillity to Ireland; but if the principle of exclusion on the part of a proportion of the Protestants against the Roman Catholics were not abandoned, he frankly owned that little good would arise from the efforts which had already been made to put an end to such a system. The value—the whole value, in his eyes, of the dissolution 1292 of this society, was the prospect it afforded of restoring harmony to Ireland. He might, perhaps, be sanguine in his expectations—after the warmth of feeling exhibited by the noble Lords opposite, he was certainly not so sanguine as he had previously been: but he did still entertain a strong hope that the prospect of returning tranquillity and happiness to Ireland was at length opened to their view. The noble Earl, amongst those observations which might, perhaps, have been better omitted in his address, had assumed, that Protestantism in Ireland was commensurate with Orangeism. He begged their Lordships to look around them before they adopted such a conclusion, when, if they did so, they would see that there were Protestants, some of the most respectable persons in Ireland, men who stood the highest in rank amongst the inhabitants of the country, and the most established, in the opinion of Protestants, for their religious sincerity and zeal, who were decided enemies to these Orange associations.—Nothing, therefore, could be further from the fact, that the Roman Catholic party alone was arrayed in hostility to these proceedings. Now, as to the origin of this association: it took its rise in an opposition to the necessity which had become imperative, of governing Ireland, not for the purposes of upholding the ascendancy of any class, but for the good of the whole people. From the first moment of the agitation of the question, the body opposed itself to the measure of Catholic Emancipation. They might have been perfectly right.—[The Duke of Cumberland: Hear! hear!]—The illustrious Duke might be perfectly right in his opinion of the impolicy of that measure. He was happy to have the good fortune of entirely going along with the illustrious Duke in his statement of the view taken by the illustrious Duke of that question. So far from misrepresenting, he was glad to perceive that he had stated fairly, and, he hoped, respectfully—and certainly without meaning to disparage the illustrious Duke's motives, for he believed he was perfectly conscientious in the opinions which he entertained—the sentiments which the illustrious Duke felt and expressed on that measure. But the illustrious Duke could not deny that the origin of the society was, that Roman Catholics should not be admitted to equal rights with their Protes- 1293 tant fellow subjects. The association was formed on that principle—it had been continued on that principle; and at this moment (continued the noble and learned Lord), I am quite satisfied that if the assent of the illustrious Duke were the only thing necessary to bring about such a consummation—if such an event depended upon him, and could be effected by his wish, he could easily believe that he would most readily and cheerfully abolish all that has been attained, and overturn the whole fabric of which Catholic Emancipation formed the foundation. Now the illustrious Duke was, and is, entitled to hold his own opinions upon that subject; but the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and the King himself, did not happen to coincide with the illustrious Duke, but all were compelled to acknowledge that the time for assenting to the measure had arrived: there was a moral necessity growing out of the state of men's opinions to pass that measure, and any man must be insensible to what went on in the world, who still adhered to opinions opposed to that concession. I say, then, that this Orange Society was formed on a principle which the absolute necessity of the times compelled the popular mind to abandon. I am sorry that an illustrious Duke (the Duke of Wellington) is not present; for illustrious I may call him, with reference both to his exploits in the field and his rank in the country—for if he were here I should have his sanction of, and concurrence in, the declaration that the original principle on which this society was founded, cannot be sustained by any man who knows what is passing in the country, and reflects upon the consequences of blindly opposing the unconquerable determination of a people. The principle of this association is one for rendering ineffectual what the Legislature in its wisdom thought it necessary to adopt; for it amounts to this declaration—"The Roman Catholic, in the name and letter of the law, is admitted to a participation of civil rights and privileges; yet by our association, and by our physical strength and power in the country, we shall prevent the provisions of the law from being carried into operation." The noble and learned Lord then proceeded to say, that the value of the resolutions of the House of Commons, and of the declaration from the Throne, was, that the people of Ireland should be free, and that the whole people should have equal 1294 civil privileges, in fact as well as in law. It was certainly honourable to those noble and illustrious persons themselves, exercising the high authority which they did with their brethren, to recommend the dissolution of this association, in accordance with the wish of the Throne; but how short-sighted or inconsistent it was, in some at least of that body, to accede to its extinction, and yet recommend the continuance of the principle on which it was founded, and thereby perpetuate the mischiefs which they appeared desirous to abolish? "My Lord (continued the noble and learned Lord), what I mean to say is this—that if you hold out to the people of Ireland—Protestant and Catholic—that equal privileges are not honestly and perfectly to be communicated to both, you hold out a principle on which it is impossible the country can be governed. [The Duke of Cumberland: I don't deny that.] Oh, then, I see the illustrious Duke and I are, after all, about to arrive at the same conclusion. The illustrious Duke is about to give in his adhesion to the principle which I have laid down, and depart from the representation which I gave of his opinions (and which he so heartily cheered) on the question of Catholic Emancipation. Now, does the illustrious Duke admit, that the principle on which the Government of Ireland should be conducted, and the law applied, is the principle of equal right to the whole of the people? [The Duke of Cumberland: I agree to that. Let the Government do so.] Well, then, as we are now at length agreed as to what should be the object of the Government, we have next to consider by what means it is to be obtained. At all events, the illustrious Duke admits, and after his announcement of his concurrence in it, I am inclined to think that no one will now be found ready to dispute the guiding principle on which the Irish Government should be conducted, namely, that it should fairly carry the intentions of the Legislature into effect, and give, in fact, and truth, equal laws and rights to all the people of Ireland, without any religious distinction. That, my Lords, is a fair principle; I claim no more—I desire no more. I believe that respectable portion of the Roman Catholics desire more. But the illustrious Duke says, "Let that be done." How? By the only means in which it can be effected—by the arm of the law and the authority of the Government of the country. And 1295 here I am brought back into what I think was very unnecessarily introduced into the present discussion, and what I can't but say appears to me to be the principal object of that discussion, particularly on the part of the noble Lord who spoke last, and who, not contenting himself either with the vindication of his own honour, for seeking an opportunity of making which he was entitled to every praise, or confining himself to the vindication of the honour of those who were originally engaged in this society, thought proper to take that occasion for bringing forward a series of vague, general, most unjust, and unfounded charges against the Government of Ireland. My Lords, this is not a fair way of dealing with the present question. Is it fair or reasonable to call on my noble Friend at the head of his Majesty's Government, or any person connected with the Government, to go, upon such a motion as the present, into a general vindication of the Government of Ireland, with respect to the administration of the laws and the disposition of its patronage? Nothing can be easier than to apply harsh epithets to a Government—to say that it is unjust and partial—that it has abandoned one interest, and that its favour runs exclusively in a particular channel; and when I had the honour of coming lately from Ireland to attend my duties here, I found a storm, upon this topic, rising in every direction: I heard of nothing but the gross abuses of the Irish Government—of the various acts which they had committed—the things which they had done, and which they should have left undone, and the things which they should have done, bat which they had neglected to do. One more serious charge, however, against them was, that they had neglected the Protestant interest. But I have not heard any distinct act of omission or commission on the part of the Irish Government. And I now challenge any one to bring any distinct accusation against that Government; and if I am not grossly misinformed there can, and there shall be, given to it the most distinct, explicit, and satisfactory answer. My Lords, I will not condescend to enter into an inquiry into the conduct of particular individuals who are represented as the general masters of the Government of Ireland. The only question which can be raised with reference to the supposed subserviency of the Government, is not whether 1296 they have availed themselves of the services of those whose support they have the honour to receive, but whether they have in any instance sacrificed their own principles in order to procure that support. I boldly say—and I challenge investigation—that no proofs can be adduced of their having so yielded in any one instance. The ludicrous charges brought against the Government are really the greatest triumph which it can have over its opponents, for after all the anxiety to detect their errors, and to show that they have violated every principle of the constitution, the only specific charge alleged against it is Lord Mulgrave having invited Mr. O'Connell to dinner. It is really a thing to occupy a page in history, and after-ages are to read it with astonishment, "that on such a day in January, 1836, Lord Mulgrave sent to his aide-de-camp to wait on Mr. O'Connell to ask him to dinner in Dublin Castle." This charge was one too frivolous to notice, and from which the noble Marquis alluded to has already been exculpated, even in the opinion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, who had upon a former occasion brought the accusation against him. I again repel the charge made on the Irish Government. I give a direct and positive denial to all charges which are general and vague. Mr. O'Connell, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. O'Connell! No other name is mentioned at present by those opposed to the Government. Why, my Lords, Mr. O'Connell possesses more influence than he himself, as he has feelingly stated ought to possess, or than any man ought to enjoy. But how has he become possessed of it? Why, my Lords, every grievance that you leave unredressed—every unjust attack on the privileges of the people (no matter what may be their religious belief)—every declaration that you make, that the same laws shall not be administered in spiritand effect to all classes is but adding strength to the influence of that individual. I am not disposed to deny that the extent of influence is most condemnatory of the state of society in which it can be obtained; but, my Lords, Mr. O'Connell is rendering services to Ireland which are beyond all calculation. I have never known Ireland in such a state of tranquillity as at this moment. Would any Government, in their senses, reject the support of such an influential individual when he offers them his services? Have former Governments acted on the 1297 principle which is now so dogmatically laid down? Has the noble Duke, who was at one time at the head of the Government of this country, and who has since been the leader of the association—has he refused to take the assistance of individuals, unless they exactly coincided with him in political opinions? Why had he taken the assistance of the noble Marquis? Why had he taken the assistance of persons friendly to a system of reform, he himself being directly opposed to it? But it is said that Mr. O'Connell has not expressed proper opinions of your Lordships' House and of your Lordships as individuals. My Lords, is it the duty of the Government to keep a kind of register of the expressions of all public men, with a view of determining what exactly should be the temper displayed by each individual, and the language in which his thoughts should be clothed, so as to fix a standard according to which the support of a public man might be received? It was my fate to meet on many occasions at the tables of Lords-Lieutenant, Dr. Duigenan; and yet there was no language of vituperation and of abuse which he had not at one time or other lavished sometimes on the Government, and at other times on those opposed to it. I, however, never heard a formal charge brought against any Lord Lieutenant for having asked that individual to dine, It is said that the Government have determined that all persons who belonged to Orange Lodges are to be deprived of all access to public offices of trust. No such principle was ever laid down by the Government. The principle which has been laid down is, that after a Committee of the House of Commons has made their report, and after it has been ascertained by that report what the nature of Orange Lodges is, that any person who made application to be appointed to any new office of Government or magistracy should not be admitted until he declared that he was no longer a member of an Orange Association. But, my Lords, I have myself, in several instances, acting with the concurrence of the Executive Government, declined appointing an individual, until I ascertained first, whether he was a member of an Orange Lodge, and next, whether he meant to continue to be so. But to say, that because men have been members of Orange Lodges that they are never afterwards to be admitted to offices of trust and magistracy is a principle which has never been acted 1298 on or supposed to be proper. Though I am sorry to introduce so invidious a topic, I am obliged to observe that the appointments of Protestants made by the Irish Government, bear a fair proportion to those of Roman Catholics. One judge has been appointed, and he is a Protestant. I observe a number of assistant barristers have also been appointed. I can repeat the names of three or four who are Protestants. There are, perhaps, an equal number of Roman Catholics. But I do not believe that any inquiry was ever made, or question asked, as to whether these individuals were Protestants or Roman Catholics. But the noble Lords opposite say, "'Tis true these individuals are not Papists, but they are political Papists, because they are friendly to the claims of the Catholics." So that here is a Government founded on liberal principles, which, unless it appoints persons of opposite opinions to their own, is charged with conferring its patronage on religious or political Papists. I conclude by reiterating the challenge which I have before given, that if any specific charge of misconduct can be brought forward, either in refusing assistance to any clergyman in the prosecution of his just right, or withholding the requisite protection of Protestant property, let it be made, and I take upon myself to say, it shall be satisfactorily answered. With respect to the particular instance to which the noble Lord alluded, that has been already sufficiently explained. The present Irish Government refused to give effect to a commission of rebellion in accordance with the practice of every Government since the year 1822, and amongst them of that of Lord Haddington. The noble and learned Lord concluded by expressing a hope that when the noble Lord had time to reflect, between the present time and the meeting of the association on the 11th April, his speech would be more calculated to produce the effect which he seemed desirous to attain, than the greater portion of his address on the present occasion.
The Earl of Winchilsea
said, that as the noble Lord had referred to Catholic Emancipation, and the necessity of conciliating the Catholics, he (the Earl of Winchilsea) would beg leave to tell him that Emancipation had failed to produce the good expected from it, and now announced to have flowed from it. So far from. Emancipation having diminished crime, 1299 crime had increased since the passing of that measure. He could prove the fact from documents. His object however in rising was to express his entire disapprobation at the suppression of the Orange society. He would allow that the friends of the institution in the other House acted wisely in not opposing the resolution which was directed against the society. It was true they made great sacrifices, but they were in a difficult position, and they proved their loyalty by coming to that decision. There were five or six other societies bound by illegal oaths. Why were not these included in a resolution? If the Orange societies were illegal, why did not the noble Viscount enforce the law against them? and, if they were legal, why restrict the liberty of the subject by their wanton suppression? The exercise of the power of the Crown, as advised by Ministers, was a Bill of pains, though not of penalties. The noble Viscount should, if he wished to do an act of impartial justice, at once bring in a Bill declaring all secret societies illegal. He hoped the society would follow the advice of its leaders, and disperse; but, at the same time, he hoped they would never forget what was due to the maintenance of the Protestant institutions of the empire, or desert their principles.
§ Lord Hatherton
maintained that the address to the Crown from the House of Commons on the subject of Orange societies, in consequence of which they had been abolished, was not unconstitutional, being justified by precedent. He referred to the proceedings in the year 1807 upon the Reversion Bill, which bad been sent up to the House of Lords by the Commons, but which the Lords refused to pass. The consequence was, that the House of Commons immediately voted an address to the Crown, praying that it would not give any places in reversion for six weeks after the next meeting of Parliament. Now this was a much stronger step than that taken on the present occasion, being the usurpation of a sort of temporary legislation which, perhaps, might fairly be conceived contrary to the spirit of our Constitution. He was rejoiced to find that the opinion of the House of Commons had been acted upon on the present occasion. He much preferred to see these institutions put an end to by the moral influence of society than by compulsory means. The evil was not confined to themselves; the existence of one class of political societies called up 1300 others of a different complexion, and the consequence was that law was trampled under foot, and property destroyed, or rendered precarious and valueless. In order to show to what an extent the spirit of party had prevailed hitherto in the disposition of Government patronage in Ireland, he would merely trouble the House with a brief statement of a few of the appointments as he found them distributed on going over to Ireland in the year 1833. On the ordinary commission of the peace there were 2,668 persons of whom only 292 were Roman Catholics; police magistrates twenty-five, of whom two were Roman Catholics; sub-inspectors of police 216, of which twenty-two were Roman Catholics; town councillors thirty-four, of which two were Roman Catholics; lieutenants of counties thirty-two, of which two were Roman Catholics; assistant barristers thirty-two, of which there were three Roman Catholics. Such was the state of the case in 1833, when he went over to Ireland. If the noble Lord now the representative of his Majesty in that country came into office, finding a slight reduction of this glaring inequality and favouritism, which he believed might have been the case, he trusted that the noble Lord would be stimulated by that circumstance to reduce still further all causes of complaint of that kind.
The Marquess of Londonderry
briefly replied. He could not see that the statements just made by the noble Lord opposite, in reference to the appointments of the two late Lord Lieutenants, had anything to do with those of the present Lord Lieutenant; and therefore was no answer to his (Lord Londonderry's) charge and complaint, namely, that in the present disposition of the patronage of the Irish Government, the fact of being a staunch Protestant was held a sufficient disqualification against any one, be he who he might. If the noble Lord opposite would consent to giving him a return of the number of appointments made by the present Irish Government, stating by whom recommended, and also, as far as possible, whether the parties were Catholics or Protestants, he believed he should be able to bear out to the fullest extent the statements which he had made to the House upon this subject.
§ Motion agreed to.