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Drummond was keenly alive to the state of parties and the dangers of the Government—most anxious about and watchful of the proceedings of the Ministry, and often profoundly vexed at their mistakes. No one connected with or dependent on the Government had a more intense interest in its endurance. Not because he clung to the emoluments of his post. Since his marriage he was raised above pecuniary considerations. Not because he took pride in his position. He could have entered Parliament, and aspired to the highest offices of the State. Many of his friends, confident of his success, pressed him from time to time to do so. The reason why he so eagerly desired the continuance of the Government was that he believed himself to be engaged in a great and good work, and dreaded lest an opportunity should be lost of carrying it, if not to completion, yet far on the way. “I should anxiously desire to have another year," he writes to his mother, “because I think in that time we should have reaped a part of our harvest.” This, written in July 1836, exhibits the spirit in which he toiled on to the end. The work in which he conceived himself to be engaged was the redemption of Ireland, as noble a work as a man ever proposed to himself.
A man of his powers, animated by his spirit, and
cessive Viceroys, Chief Secretaries, and legal officers. The Under Secretary alone remains, familiar with the state of the country, the persons to be dealt with, and the forces at the disposal of the Government. Some years ago Mr Fitzstephen French, in a debate on an Irish question in the House of Commons, remarked, in terms more neat than complimentary to the heads of the Administration :“ Ireland is governed by a colonel of Engineers. In the departments, Carlisle does the dancing, Horsman the hunting, and Larcom the work.”
having his opportunities, could be the real subordinate of no one.
Dr Madden says, in contempt for Normanby, that it mattered little who was Lord-Lieutenant, provided
he had Drummond ás Under Secretary, and Lord John Russell to give him his political cue.” The fact is, the subordinate office, always a most important one, became, while Drummond filled it, one of the most important in the Government. The Under Secretary's influence extended beyond the sphere of his duties to almost every branch and act of the Irish Administration.
There is no survivor of that Administration,” says Miss Martineau, * “ who will not eagerly assent to the avowal, that one member, Mr Drummond, was the mind and soul of it." The assent has been given, in general terms, as amply as the warmest admirer of Drummond could wish. No proposition, indeed, could well be more strongly asserted or readily admitted.
Still, ex facie, Drummond was a subordinate in the Administration, and his life in Ireland falls meantime to be handled with that fact steadily in view. Special acts, admitted to have been his, there still are. He helped in the work of redeeming Ireland—a work yet so far from completion in three several ways. He helped in the establishment of order, first, by the energetic handling of the forces for maintaining order at the disposal of the executive, and next, through the reorganisation of those forces. He did much towards satisfying the people of the impartiality of the Government, inspiring them with hope, and rendering them content and trusting under English rule. The chief labour of his life, his work on the Irish
Railway Commission, was devoted to securing the material prosperity of the people—to a solution of the land question, in short, in a round-about way, by rendering the Irish less dependent on the land. Lastly, he made valuable contributions to our knowledge of the state of Ireland and of Irish questions. His evidence contained in the Report of the Roden Committee, taken along with those portions of the Railway Commission Report which emanated from his pen, form the completest and most authoritative account that exists of the state of Ireland between 1835–39.*
In the immediately following chapters, it is proposed -1st, To give a view of the state of Ireland in those years, chiefly as it appears from the reports referred to ; 2d, To exhibit the efforts of Mr Drummond and his colleagues in the Government in behalf of order in Ireland—taking, as falling under this head, his im
* In 1839, a Select Committee of the House of Lords (known as the Roden Committee, from having been appointed on the motion of Earl Roden), took evidence as to the state of crime in Ireland between 1835 and 1839, and as to the whole course of the Administration in regard to its suppression. The object of the inquiry was to test the truth of various grave charges brought against the Government, which shall hereafter be noticed. Before this committee Mr Drummond was the chief figure, not only as the principal witness, but as the member of the Government most referred to by all the witnesses. Of the value of his evidence on this occasion an opinion is expressed by an able writer in the Edinburgh Review (vol. lxx. p. 317). “The Committee,” says this writer, “have rendered a great public service (however little they may deserve credit for it), in being the means of calling Mr Drummond's evidence into existence. In addition to the opportunities afforded him by his high official situation, his duties as Railway Commissioner have led him to make the most extensive inquiries of all classes, in all parts, as to the moral and social condition of the people, and he has brought to bear upon the matter thus collected all the energies of an enlightened and intelligent mind."
provement of the constabulary, and those acts of his in which the impartiality of the Government was exhibited ; and, 3d, To give some account of Mr Drummond's scheme for developing, by a national system of railways, the resources of the country, and securing the well-being of the common people.
In these chapters, which are intended to show the work in which Mr Drummond was engaged in Ireland, and the spirit in which he performed his share in it, the object, it must be remembered, is not historical, but biographical. In a history of Ireland between the years 1835 and 1840, many would have prominence who are here overlooked or barely mentioned ; persons and events being, as a rule, noticed only as connected with or affecting the life and labours of Mr Drummond. Moreover, by the method of treating this portion of his life, to which it has been found necessary to have recourse, he himself is, to a great extent, the author of the account of the state of Ireland under the administrations in which he served. Should any one think that there is more historical matter introduced than is proper to be found in a memoir, he should reflect that the only good reason that can be stated for writing the life of any one is, that it is instructive, and that, for the same reason, it is proper to make it as instructive as possible.
IRELAND, 1835–1839; SECRET SECTARIAN AND POLITICAL
ORGANISATIONS IN IRELAND; ORANGEISM AND ORANGE PROCESSIONS; RIBBONISM OR RIBANDISM; AGRARIAN OUTRAGES ; FACTION FIGHTS ; EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH ORDER ; IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CONSTABULARY; INTRODUCTION OF STIPENDIARY MAGISTRATES; EXTENSION OF CROWN PROSECUTIONS; SUPPRESSION OF FACTION FIGHTS; SUPPRESSION OF ORANGE PROCESSIONS ; REMEDIES FOR EVILS LEADING TO DISTURBANCES ; DIMINUTION OF CRIME ; DIFFICULTIES IN DEALING WITH RIBANDISM.
In 1835 the Orange system was in full blow. It was a common notion that the United Irishmen formed an antagonistic society under the name of Ribbonmen or Ribandmen. Orangeism was armed and secret; Ribandism secret and unarmed; each had its characteristic public manifestations. These were supposed to be hedge-murders, midnight house-invasions, and fierce personal assaults; those were armed processional demonstrations, spreading terror among the Catholic Irish, and frequently resulting in deadly conflicts.
In 1835–36 the proportions assumed by Orangeism became exceedingly alarming. It numbered no less than 1500 lodges (with secret oaths and pass-words), affiliated with one another under the direction of a