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Let the chief constable give L.10 for such information as will enable him to bring any one of these rioters to justice (L.10 per head), and let him well and fully understand, that he is expected to use more diligence and show more intelligence in bringing these offenders to justice than he has done to prevent the exhibition, so disgraceful to the police, of a village being in the possession of a band of armed ruffians. Why is the number of persons injured not reported, and the injuries which they have received not stated ?"
The result of this minute, followed up a few days after by another, was that the chief constable and sub-inspector set actively to work to bring as many of the offenders as they could to justice. Twelve persons were apprehended and convicted; the Crown solicitors having, meanwhile, been urged to spare no pains or expense to procure proper and sufficient evidence against them. The effects of this vigorous policy were quickly felt. By August 1836 a sub-inspector reported that he was now convinced that the suppression of fights at fairs and faction riots, which he had formerly considered impracticable, could be easily accomplished :—“There is no doubt, if the business be well followed up for a sufficient time, these disgraceful riots will presently be put a stop to.” The business was well followed up. “I ought to mention,” says Drummond in his evidence, “that it was a practice at one time not uncommon, to draw the police from the fairs, with a view to prevent collision with the people; and when the order that they should attend was given, I received a representation from Sir John Harvey, the provincial inspector of Leinster, begging that the subject might be well considered before that order was sent out, for he felt that very serious consequences might result from it, the policy having been to withdraw the men out of sight, and leave the people to fight among themselves unrestrained, rather than risk the loss of life by collision with the constabulary.” The consequence of this remonstrance was the issuing of a general order, in the beginning of 1836, for suppressing the riots and faction fights. In June 1836 the substance of the series of minutes written on the different cases that had occurred since Drummond became Under Secretary were embodied in a general order to the constabulary by Colonel Shaw Kennedy, who then became Inspector-General of the Constabulary created under the new Act.*
* It should be mentioned that Colonel Kennedy, the InspectorGeneral, and more especially Colonel Miller, one of the provincial inspectors, rendered important services in regard to the internal arrangements of the constabulary force. Colonel Kennedy, being asked in his examination before the Roden Committee, “Was there any other description of offence on which you remarked that the improved organisation of the constabulary force had had a good effect ?" answered—“That question seems to me to imply that I wish to convey that the improvement of the constabulary force under me had the effect of putting down those faction feuds; on the contrary, I say that the constabulary force was very efficient in putting the orders of the Government into effect; it was the orders of the Government which caused their being suppressed. I do not assume that there was any greater efficiency which I caused in the constabulary force, but the merit was in the Government ordering the thing to be met.” Elsewhere he says—“The steps taken with reference to the organisation of the police by Government for the suppression of the faction feuds, were that the chief constables were directed to report every case of an anticipated faction feud, and every case of a fair or meeting at which a faction feud was likely to take place; and instructions were given to collect a sufficient constabulary force to meet the occasion, the magistrates to attend and to proceed against the parties vigorously. It was thought (and thought by a great many of the constabulary force) that the thing could not be done ; but when the factions were fairly met, and were taken up and punished, it was found to go down very rapidly, and did go down very rapidly."
Under the Act of 1836 the police force was put under an Inspector-General, who, having an office in Dublin Castle, was in immediate communication with the Government. The correspondence between the head-quarters in Dublin and the constabulary officers in different parts of the country was simultaneously accelerated, and means afforded of creating a better description of officers. The selection of the men was vested in the Lord Lieutenant, and practically in the Inspector-General, instead of being, as previously, in the hands of the local magistrates. Constabulary courts were established for the enforcement of discipline. The discipline of the corps was, at the same time, made more strict and systematic. The Act of 1836 further provided for the appointment of a number of stipendiary magistrates, to fulfil in Ireland functions similar to those discharged by the sheriff-substitutes in the counties of Scotland.
Most material improvements in the force, not provided for by the Act, were introduced by regulation, and by the general order, already referred to, which embodied the substance of the Under Secretary's minutes. The effect of these improvements was to give the force a quasi-military organisation; the constables, it is well known, are armed and equipped like regular troops. Military officers were introduced into the corps to raise its character. To stimulate the members of the corps to exertion the Lord Lieutenant surrendered his power of patronage to a great extent, and established the rule of promotion by merit, as, on the whole, the rule of advancement within the force. The head of the constabulary was now the Inspector-General; under him were the four provincial inspectors; under them thirty-five sub-inspectors, with salaries varying from
L.230 to L.250 ; next to them the chief constables, in three classes, with salaries of L.150, L.130, and L.100 respectively; next to them the head constables, in two classes, receiving severally salaries of L.70 and 1.50; and then the constables and sub-constables, each in two classes, with salaries of L.32, L.28, L.25, and L.23. “The effect of these several regulations may be rendered more intelligible,” says Mr Drummond,“ by comparing the constabulary force with a regiment. The head constable
may be considered as somewhat similar to a sergeant-major, and the chief constable to an ensign. It was very desirable to show the men that there is nothing to prevent them rising to the higher classes if they possess the requisite qualifications. The result of this system will, I hope, be that the constabulary force will be unequalled by that of any other country.” The strength of the force was increased at the same time that its organisation was improved. In 1839 it numbered 8416, being 1300 more than in 1835. A design of Drummond's was to create a reserve of about 400 men, to be placed in a depôt in Dublin, at once as a training school for the force and as a reserve at the disposal of the Government in cases of emergency.
This,” he says, “is almost the only thing wanted to make the force nearly perfect.”
The admission of Catholics in considerable numbers into the constabulary, with a view to increase its popularity, and consequently its efficiency, was a point on which Drummond strongly insisted. A great number were admitted to every rank in the service. This recognition of Catholic emancipation in a small matter gave great offence to the Orange party, who saw in it infinite danger to life and property. Mr Drummond was examined before the Roden Committee at considerable length on the policy of this course, apropos of the appointment of a Mr Slattery, brother to a Roman Catholic Archbishop, to an office in the force. His evidence is worth quoting as the only public expression of his views on the relations which should subsist between religions and Government :
“Do you consider it advantageous to introduce into the force persons so connected ?
“ I do.
“Would you, under such circumstances, have considered his age a decided objection? [Mr Slattery was over the regulation age.]
“I think that it is so desirable to introduce a person so connected into the force that, supposing the appointment rested with me, I should have been disposed to set aside the rule in regard to age in such a case.
Because he was connected with a Roman Catholic prelate ?
'Do you mean to state that it would be better for the character of the service to lay aside the regulation of the service, and to admit a man into the service, because he was a brother of a Roman Catholic priest?
“I do not allude to any regulation but the regulation of age. Supposing he had been three or four years above the age fixed by regulation, I think it would have been advisable to depart from that regulation, for the sake of introducing a relative of a Roman Catholic prelate, like Dr Slattery, of great influence from his character and station.
“Will you point out to the Committee what the particular advantage would be in introducing a brother of the Roman Catholic Archbishop into the constabulary?
“I think it tends very much to render the force popular, and by rendering it more popular, it is able to perform its duties much more effectually.
“In the case of a brother of a Bishop of the Established Church, would you think it of equal advantage that the regulation should be departed from?