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he declared to me that the persons committing them were in the very lodge to which he belonged; but, notwithstanding his repeated promises to bring to me information that would lead to the apprehension of these men, he never in a single instance brought information that would enable us to anticipate an outrage. Seeing this going on, I told him it would be necessary to put him in communication with the police commissioners, for I could not devote more time to it.”
No practical results could be reached through the numerous informers who offered themselves at different times to the Government.* Many of them were discovered to be utterly worthless and infamous persons. One, who made a trade of playing informer, tried several magistrates in turn, and got money from them, before his true character was discovered. In another case, where an informer came forward as an accessory to a Riband murder, it was clearly established that his information was wholly false, and that he knew nothing whatever of the murder. Yet it was in reliance on statements obtained from persons of this class that Earl Roden founded his charge, and that one of the magistrates—a Mr Rowan-firmly believed in the Earl's Riband conspiracy. To this Mr Rowan every facility was afforded by the Government of following up the information he received, and on which he relied ; but nothing ever came of his exertions. During the period 1835–39, the Government had examined into forty-five cases of reported Ribandism. They occurred in Sligo, Cavan, Louth, Meath, Wicklow, Leitrim, Tyrone, Mayo, Galway, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Longford, and
* The “Spy" system, so abhorrent to so-called British feeling, is a necessary recourse of every government that has to deal with disaffe on. It may be questioned whether it has in any country been carried to greater lengths than it has been, at times, in Ireland.
cases in which
there was such evidence procured as to justify legal proceedings were exceedingly few. In the others, there was little more than the statements of informers-generally one in each case-commonly not on oath, and given on the condition that the informer would not have to appear as a witness.
IRELAND, 1835–1839; THE IMPARTIALITY OF THE GOVERN
MENT; MR DRUMMOND AND COLONEL VERNER; THE BATTLE OF THE DIAMOND ; REVIEW OF IRISH LEGISLATION; CLAMOURS OF THE ORANGEMEN AND TORIES ; MR DRUMMOND AND THE TIPPERARY MAGISTRATES ;
PROPERTY HAS ITS DUTIES AS WELL AS ITS RIGHTS.”
We have now seen something of the spirit which animated the Normanby ministers. On the one hand, they put down the Orangemen ; on the other, they, to the best of their ability, hunted down the Ribandmen. They put down the Protestant processions—they suppressed the Catholic factions—they removed causes of breaches of the peace—they punished offenders with a certainty never before attained. Criminals no longer went unpunished through defects in the prosecuting agencies, to the disgrace of justice and the demoralisation of the people. Witnesses were protected before and after trials till they became publicly recognised as citizens who were doing their duty to society. By steadily following this vigorous and even course the Government did more in a few years than could have been supposed possible to instruct the people in the true function of law, and to convince them of its being a blessing and not a curse.
Emancipation--outside the bounds of the rotten corporations, and so far as it could be given effect to by the Executive—was no longer a mere name. Catholics were promoted to the highest legal offices, as they were admitted (to the disgust and affected terror of the Orangemen) to the lowest arm of the Executive—the constabulary. They were admitted to sit upon juries. On the other hand, the resolutions of the House of Commons regarding Orangeism were no dead letter, as similar resolutions had often before been allowed to become. Whoever in an office of public trust belonged to the mischievous society was promptly cashiered— great man or small, sub-constable or lieutenant of a county.
This want of respect of persons was shown in a case which greatly exasperated the Ascendancy. It occurred in August 1837, by which time Drummond and his coadjutors in the Irish Government had come to be known as “ The Apostles," on account of their devotion to the interests of the Irish.
Colonel Verner, Deputy-Lieutenant of the county of Tyrone, who represented the Orangemen of the Empire in the Commons during the investigation of the Fairman plot, gave, at an election dinner, as a party toast, “ The Battle of the Diamond." To understand the significance of this toast, the reader should know that
The following instances illustrate the disposition of the Government to extirpate the Orange Society : _"Mr Deane, a barrister, and most respectable gentleman, was elected Mayor of Cork; but on a memorial being addressed to the Lord Lieutenant, stating the Orangeism of Mr Deane, that gentleman was dismissed, and became an Orange martyr. So too Mr Smith, of Annes broke, was refused a Deputy-Lieutenancy, to which he had been nominated by Lord Dunsamy. So also reputed Orangemen returned on the judge's list for the office of High Sheriff were passed over, and other names put in their places.”—“ Ireland and Its Rulers,” part ii. p. 292.
a little hamlet, about five miles from Armagh, is said to be the birthplace of Orangeism ; and that what is called the Battle of the Diamond was a conflict which took place at that hamlet in 1795. After the battle a few yeomen and farmers joined together for mutual defence and the assertion of British rights, and formed what is said to have been the first Orange Lodge.
The elections being over, Colonel Verner and the other magistrates who attended the dinner were favoured with the following circular letter from Mr Drummond :
“DUBLIN CASTLE, August 22, 1837. “Sir,--It appearing in the Newry Telegraph of the 10th instant, that at an election dinner given by you on the 7th, one of the toasts was 'The Battle of the Diamond,' I am desired by his Excellency, now that the elections are all terminated, to desire that you will inform him whether it can be possible that you were thus a party to the commemoration of a lawless and most disgraceful conflict, in which much of the blood of your fellow-subjects was spilt, and the immediate consequence of which was, as testified at the time by all the leading men and magistrates of your county, to place that part of the country at the mercy of an ungovernable mob?—I have the honour to be, your most obedient servant,
All the magistrates, except Colonel Verner, at once answered that they were not present when the toast was proposed. It was the 29th August before the colonel wrote in answer to the brusque note, which is as characteristic of Drummond as it is unlike the most urbane minister of his age,” who directed it to be written. In his answer he parried the question put to him, and declined to reply to it. He said
“I have received a letter, dated August 22, bearing your signature, and inquiring of me, by the direction of His Excel