What is an Orangeman?

Dublin University Magazine
April 1835
Vol. V, No. XXVIII

Some months since we promised, at the very earliest opportunity, to devote a separate paper in our Magazine, to the history and defence of the Orange Institution—and if we have been slow in redeeming our pledge, it is not either from want of respect to the great and influential body of Protestants who are associated in that institution, nor yet from any want of attachment to the principles upon which their union is based.

Conscientiously and fully satisfied ourselves, upon a deliberate and careful scrutiny, that the principles of Orangeism are in strict accordance with the obligations of Christianity, and in perfect consonance with the purest maxims of “civil and religious liberty,” we cannot but feel anxious to place these principles before the British nation.

But the progress of the movement in this age of revolution presents us with important events in such fearful and rapid succession, that it required all the energies we could master to grasp at them as they passed.

The time, however, is now come when we cannot, in justice either to Orangeism or to Protestantism, delay our intended vindication any longer—the false and malignant attacks that have been made upon the Orange Institution in the House of Commons, call at once for notice and reply; and we rejoice in the hope that our humble efforts may be instrumental in removing the gross misapprehension which exists as to the true nature and objects of that loyal and religious association, and in proving to every reasonable mind that there is nothing either in its constitution or its regulations calculated to excite the indignation of any class of his Majesty's subjects, except those who are enemies of order and of law.

We feel it the more necessary to allude to the debate in the House of Commons, because upon this occasion, ministers appeared anxious to evade rather than answer the charges brought against the Orangemen. Our Chief Secretary seemed desirous of placing the Orange lodges in a very ambiguous position; their propriety very uncertain, and their legality more than questionable.

We confess that in this we were disappointed. We did not expect—we do not wish—that the ministers should identify themselves with the Orangemen—their duty is unquestionably to be above all parties.—Nay, we will go further, and we will say, that we do not desire that the Orange Institution should receive in any way the countenance of those in power. It has flourished under every species of discouragement from that very government whose authority it was upholding, and it can still subsist independent of government patronage or support.

But this we will say, that when there exists in Ireland a body including within its ranks so large and so growing a proportion of the property, the rank, and the intellect of Ireland, it is not fit that the Irish Secretary should be unacquainted with its character.

It was the duty of Sir Henry Hardinge to inform himself of the principles of an association so formidable in its numbers, and so influential in the rank and station of its leading members—and having so informed himself, he should have been ready to give the result of his enquiries to the House of Commons. This would have been the more manly and candid course.

If Sir Henry Hardinge found the Orange lodges to be societies dangerous to the peace or inimical to the institutions of the country, then he should openly have said so—if, on the other hand, he was convinced that their object was justifiable, and their principles correct—if he was satisfied that they had been marked by uniform loyalty and undeviating submission to the law—surely it would have been fair that he should have stated this conviction—and this could neither have lowered the dignity nor compromised the independence of his government.

We cannot refrain from these animadversions upon the conduct of Sir Hardinge, because we are least of all disposed to tolerate that compromise of principle which has hitherto been the bane of the Tory party.

We are always anxious that the truth should be plainly and boldly told—“Fiat justitia ruat cælum,” is a maxim far more in accordance with our feelings than the cautious and hesitating principle that guides the conduct of the wary diplomatist—who regulates his assertions not by their truth, but by their convenience, and takes his coward glance upon the pages of the book of expediency, before he dares to do what he knows to be right.

In the present case there is no excuse for halting between two opinions. In the name of the Orangemen of Ireland, we challenge investigation into their principles—If these shall be found inconsistent with the law or the constitution, or dangerous to the liberties or the happiness of any class of his Majesty's subjects—let their institution be put down with a strong hand.

But if they shall be found to be banded together for self-defence, in a union which the combination of the wicked, and the weakness of the government, rendered necessary—then we ask for them no special favor, or no exclusive protection—we only ask that justice should be done to their character—and that when charges are brought against the government for tolerating them, those charges should be met, not by the evasive ingenuity of an unworthy quibble, but by the open and manly avowal that ministers having examined into their principles, had found nothing in them of which they could disapprove.

In England, little, very little, is known of the true nature of the Orange Institution of Ireland—its members are, we know, regarded by too many as bigots and as fanatics. It has been the interest of one party to circulate calumnies, and it has not been sufficiently the care of the other to contradict them.

The Orangemen have been represented as harbouring an exterminating spirit—as being associated on the very principle of hating and oppressing their Roman Catholic fellow subjects—and as goading them by insult and injury into disaffection.

These falsehoods were so often repeated, that they were at length believed—it seems in some quarters to be assumed as an axiom, that an Orangeman is a being filled with religious rancour and religious intolerance—a man who makes the sacred name of religion an excuse for plundering and oppressing his fellows—nay, human audacity has gone so far as to assert, and human credulity so far as to believe that the members of the institution are bound together by an oath of extermination.

These charges were so absurd, that the Orangemen having once given them their solemn denial, considered it beneath them to offer any further contradiction—they did not calculate on the truth of the proverb, “calumniare audacter aliquid adhaerebit,” but their enemies regulated their conduct by the application of the maxim, and their success has furnished a remarkable instance of its truth—and while the Orangemen of Ireland, in that proud sense of conscious rectitude, neglected to refute with sufficient pains the falsehoods of their enemies, calumny verified the description of the ancient poet, acquiring boldness in her progress from one daring assertion to another, until lawless sedition assumed the tone of injured loyalty, and the disturbers of the public peace and the enemies of all order unblushingly stood forward to accuse the peaceable and orderly Orangemen of being a body dangerous to the tranquillity of the country.

The question with which we have headed this article is, be it remembered, a question of fact—if the Orange Institution be such as its enemies have represented it, we have nothing to say in its defence—God forbid that we should attempt to justify intolerance or to advocate or palliate the principles of persecution.

We have now before us a little volume containing the printed and published regulations of the Orange Institution—regulations by which, we should suppose, every member must consider himself bound, and which, by the rules of the body, must be submitted to every candidate for admission before he is proposed[1]—regulations which are put forth as the guiding rules of the institution, and which are generally read over at every meeting of each lodge, so that the brethren may never forget the principles of their union.

These regulations we believe to contain a fair exposition of the sentiments that actuate the Orangemen of Ireland.

In the very front of this book, and as a preface to the general rules, we find the following clear, deliberate, and full declaration of the principles of Orangeism:—

“This Institution is formed by persons desiring, to the utmost of their power, to support and defend his Majesty King William the IV., the protestant religion, the Laws of the country, the succession to the Throne in his Majesty's illustrious House, being Protestants, as as well as for the defence of their own persons and property, and the maintenance of the public peace; and for these purposes the members hold themselves obliged, when called upon, to be at all times ready to assist the civil and military powers in the just and lawful discharge of their duty. They associate also in honor of King William III. Prince of Orange, whose name they will perpetually bear, as supporters of his glorious memory, and the true religion by law established in this united kingdom.

“This is, exclusively, a Protestant association—yet, detesting an intolerant spirit, it admits no person into its brotherhood who are not well known to be incapable of persecuting, injuring or upbraiding any one on account of his religious opinions: its principle is, to aid and assist loyal subjects of every religious persuasion, by protecting them from violence and oppression.”


“An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Almighty Maker, a firm and steadfast faith in the Saviour of the world, convinced that he is the only Mediator between a sinful creature and an offended Creator. His disposition should be humane and compassionate; his behaviour kind and courteous. He should love rational and improving society, faithfully regard the Protestant religion, and sincerely desire to propagate its doctrine and precepts. He should have a hatred to cursing and swearing, and taking the name of God in vain; and he should use all opportunities of discouraging those shameful practices. Wisdom and prudence should guide his actions; temperance and sobriety, honesty and integrity direct his conduct; and the honor and glory of his King and Country, should be the motives of his exertions.”

These are the objects and principles of that association of Irish Protestants to which its members have given the name of the Orange Institution—as a pledge that they will support the principles of liberty established by the glorious revolution of 1688.

We do not think that it will be asserted that in the objects thus stated, there is anything criminal—anything inconsistent either with the duties of good subjects, or the obligations of a Christian.

Upon this declaration of its character, we are willing that the Orange Institution should be tried—and though we admit that in a proper state of society—a state of society where law could assert its supremacy—where it could punish disaffection and protect loyalty—an association for the objects thus specified might be wrong, because unnecessary; there is no man at all acquainted with the real condition of Ireland, except those whose trade—for agitation in Ireland has become a trade—renders it their interest to misrepresent, who will venture to assert that here a defensive association is uncalled for.

The Orange societies are strictly defensive in their objects and in their character—they have never yet been employed for the purposes of aggression, and the only thing in the entire system which had even the appearance of challenging assault, has been put an end to by the bill which forbids the Orangemen from walking in procession—a bill which was passed in the summer of 1832, by Mr. Stanley, and which met with the most apparently decided opposition from Mr. O'Connell.

How that learned gentleman may be able to reconcile his votes and speeches on that bill with his present motion for declaring the Orange societies illegal, we profess ourselves unable to divine.

When we commenced our observations by declaring our intention of entering on a history and defence of the Orange Institution, we placed the terms in juxta position, because we felt them to be identical. Calumny is best answered by facts—and with regard to this much-calumniated institution we are persuaded that if we can succeed in detailing its history we shall have completed its defence.

Called into existence by the necessities of treasonable days, and based upon the principle of loyalty to the King and attachment to British connexion, it proved the safeguard of Ireland in that fearful struggle in which foreign enmity and domestic treason combined together to strike through her a fatal blow to England's greatness.

And during the forty years that have elapsed from the time of its original formation, it has continued the best preserver of tranquillity in the districts where its influence prevails—in all parts of Ireland its members have been characterised by their uniform obedience to the law; and during that long period of time, the utmost ingenuity of its most bitter enemies has found nothing to lay to its charge—They have dealt, it is true, in general accusations—they have made vague assertions of its being a dangerous and an unchristian body—but a single definite or specific charge against Orangemen or Orangeism never has been brought, unless, indeed, we are to regard as exceptions to our statement Lord Plunkett's celebrated bottle-treason trial, or Mr. O'Connell's discovery that some verses that might be interpreted as exciting to bloodshed, occurred in another part of the chapter from which a portion of the ritual of introduction was taken.

The Orange Institution commenced in the county of Armagh—the first lodge was formed in the village of the Diamond, on the 21st September, 1795.

From a very early period a peculiarly rancorous spirit appears to have prevailed among the lower order of Roman Catholics in this neighbourhood—the descendants of the rapparees, they inherited all the ferocity of their ancestors, and for years the peace of the country was disturbed by the contentions of two rival factions, under the names of Defenders and Peep-o'-day Boys—the former the Roman Catholic, the latter the Protestant.

What originally gave rise to these factions, we have now no means of ascertaining—the more probable account appears to be, that a private quarrel assumed the appearance of a religious feud, and that the worst description of characters upon both sides entered into its animosities.

It may have been, as is confidently averred by the opponents, that the Roman Catholic party at that time precluded by the operation of penal statutes from obtaining arms in a regular manner, plundered the arms of the Protestants, upon which the Protestants went out in bands to recover them, and from their generally making these excursions at a very early hour of the morning, they obtained the name of Peep-o'-day Boys—the Roman Catholics, on the other hand, united to resist the domiciliary visits which the Peep-o'-day Boys thought proper to make in their search for the stolen arms, and thus assumed the name of Defenders.

These are matters, however, with which we are not much concerned, and with regard to which but little certainty can be attained.

The feuds of the Defenders and the Peep-o'-day Boys, however they may have arisen, were originally local in their character, and would, probably have died away without leaving any ill effects behind, had it not been that the system of Defenders was found a convenient instrument for general objects, and the craftiness of wily contrivers availed themselves of its existence, improved upon its plan, and caused it long to survive the body to whom it was originally opposed.

The Peep-o'-day Boys, it should be mentioned, never had any organization—they were mere desultory bands of peasants, engaged in a petty and disreputable feud, and long before the period of the Orange lodges they had altogether disappeared.

For whatever purpose, however, the Defenders originally associated, they became very soon a body dangerous to the peace and tranquillity of the country—they bound themselves together by oaths—they adopted a system of passwords—and they extended themselves over most of the neighbouring counties, everywhere giving indications of their presence by outrage and crime—they were exclusively a Roman Catholic association—and the Protestants were the victims of their most cruel persecution.

Whatever may have been the origin of the feuds miscalled religious, which had disturbed the tranquillity of this district—whether they originated in private quarrels or in political hatred—from the rancour of the Roman Catholic or the aggression of the Protestant, certain it is, that at this time they were kept up by the Roman Catholics with terrible tenacity of purpose; and even if some Protestants in the course of the transaction were to blame, the sins of the guilty were visited in tremendous retribution upon the heads of the unoffending—Protestant houses were attacked, and Protestant towns were pillaged—the fair or the market could not be visited by a Protestant, but at the peril of his life—returning home he was received by an ambush, and waylaid by the cowardly miscreants whose combination gave them an immeasurable advantage over their opponents' desultory and isolated strength.

Large bodies of Defenders openly paraded the country, and had, upon some occasions, even the audacity to challenge the King's troops to an engagement—massacres the most barbarous were perpetrated by bandittis who openly declared that their object was the extermination of Protestantism: these outrages attracted the attention of the Secret Committee of the House of Lords, who made a strong report upon the subject in 1793; and the report of this committee having employed the fact of these atrocities in a manner inconvenient to the Catholic claims—the Catholic Committee addressed a letter of advice to restrain their party from their commission—the allusion, too, of the committee drew from the Roman Catholic prelate, Doctor Troy, that pastoral admonition which nine years of outrage and violence had failed to call forth—and crime was suspended when political expedience dictated its convenience.

If it were our object to prove that the Roman Catholic party were the aggressors in these transactions, we would find ample evidence in the peace and tranquillity—temporary though it was—which was procured by the address of the Catholic Committee, and by the pastoral letter of Doctor Troy.

The Roman Catholics were the only party whom these admonitions could influence, and yet by their influence tranquillity was restored—and this fact is recorded upon no exceptionable evidence.

The Catholic Committee published a declaration, in which they boasted that by this address the disturbances were put an end to. Surely then we need no further testimony to determine the party by whom these disturbances were created.

But meantime events were silently but surely progressing, which changed very much the character of the Defenders, and altered, indeed, the entire relations of society throughout the north of Ireland. To use the words of Mr. Croker, the time was coming when “all the hordes of petty rebels that for twenty years, under twenty barbarous names and pretences had harassed the land, should sink one great union against all civil and ecclesiastical institutions.”

Measures were industriously adopted, by what agency it is not easy to discover, to circulate through Ireland the poison of infidelity and republicanism.

We have now before us a document drawn up by a man in the middle class of life, who still recollects the circumstances that preceded the rebellion of '98. Upon the authority of this document, for the correctness of which we can vouch, we have ascertained that emissaries were despatched throughout the country to circulate the works of Volney, Voltaire, and Paine; and thus, by disseminating infidelity, prepare the way for republicanism.

The association of United Irishmen was formed, and so early as the 10th of May, 1795, three months previous to the formation of the first Orange lodge, a committee of delegates met at Belfast, and completed their constitution.

In their views the Defenders readily cooperated, and from them they received a more complete and more regular organization—and now it was that upon the Protestants in the humbler classes there was a pressure which not even their often-proved loyalty could long withstand—the objects of persecution from an organized body, they vainly opposed isolated strength to combined attacks.

They could see no protection but in combination, and there were no combinations but those of a treasonable character.

With the practical philosophy of experience they perceived the truth of the maxim so beautifully expressed in the eloquent pages of the philosophic Burke, “When bad men combine, the good must associate—else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

This was just the truth which was felt by the peasant philosophers of Armagh; and acting on that principle, they formed the Orange association—they resolved that they should be no longer the straggling and separated fragments of a broken party—they adopted from their enemies the lesson which that enemy had inculcated by many a cruel illustration—that union is strength: they United for the purposes of defence—they made loyalty the pledge of their union, as disaffection and treason was the characteristics of the hostile combinations—they consecrated that union by the solemnities of a pure religion, as their enemies were engaged in the service of infidelity and Popery—and true to their king and steady to their faith, while, at the same time, they desired to maintain the principles of that constitution for which their ancestors had bled—they assumed the name of him whose memory, in common with every lover of freedom, they held in reverence, they called themselves “the loyal and religious Orange Institution.”

Nor did they thus unite until many and sufficiently intelligible indications had manifested that the designs of the hostile confederacy extended to nothing less than the extirpation of Protestants.

We do not wish to shock our readers by the details of barbarities revolting to our nature. There can be but little use in raking up the memory of bygone atrocities, which, for the honour of our country, it were better should be covered in oblivion; but when it is asserted that the Orange Institution originated in a spirit of wanton and gratuitous aggression, it is necessary that we should—and we shall discharge this painful duty with as much brevity as possible—it becomes necessary that we should detail some of those atrocities which forced upon the minds of Protestants the conviction that the Defenders sought their extermination, and that against these designs they must seek protection in God and in their own arm.

One of the most inhuman outrages that ever was perpetrated, even in Ireland, stained about this time that part of the north—an outrage for which no motive could be assigned but a wanton hatred of Protestantism—and an outrage, the fiendish barbarity of which throws into the shade the cruelties of the savage, and makes us regard the most ruthless wielder of the tomahawk, or scalping-knife, as a pattern of mercy compared with the miscreants who were guilty of it.

A Protestant gentleman, Richard Jackson, Esq., of Forkhill, who died in the year 1787, had demised his estate for charitable purposes; he directed that his demesne should be colonized by Protestants, and that four schoolmasters should be supported to teach indiscriminately the children of every religious persuasion. In 1789 the trustees obtained from the Irish Parliament an act of incorporation, and proceeded to carry into effect the intentions of the testator by locating Protestants upon his demesne; but the Roman Catholics openly declared that they would not suffer the establishment of Protestants to be made.

They attempted the life of the Rev. Edward Hudson, the rector of Forkhill, who had been appointed agent to the charity. On one occasion his horse was shot under him; and it was believed that the assassin who fired had been despatched from a Roman Catholic chapel to attempt the bloody deed.

They assailed the colonists with all the terrible modes of proscription now fortunately unknown in Ulster, but still common enough in districts where Orangeism does not prevail.

Gangs of ruffians assailed their houses by night, and menaced their lives by day. That we may not be suspected of exaggeration, we will give the account of one transaction in the words of the report which was made by the trustees to the Bishop of Dromore. The document is dated February, 1791, more than four years previous to the formation of the first Orange lodge.

“On Friday evening, at seven o'clock, a number of villains assembled at the house of Alexander Barclay, one of the schoolmasters in the parish of Forkhill, near Dundalk, appointed by the trustees of the late Richard Jackson's charities, to instruct indiscriminately the children of the poor of said parish. They appeared at the door; he enquired who was there? and one man, of the name of Terence Byrne, his neighbour, whose voice he well knew, and had before at different times admitted on knowing his voice, told him it was he was there; he opened the door, and a number of men rushed in, threw him on his face, and three of them stood on him and stabbed him repeatedly. They then put a cord round his neck, which they tightened so as to force out his tongue, part of which, as far as they could reach, they cut off. They then cut off the four fingers and thumb of his right hand, and left him on the floor, and proceeded to use his wife in the same manner. To add to their barbarity, they cut out her tongue, and cut off her four fingers and thumb with a blunt weapon, which operation look them above ten minutes, one or two of them holding up her arm while they committed this inhuman action. They then battered and beat her in a dreadful manner. Her brother, a boy about thirteen years of age, had come from Armagh that morning to see her. They cut out his tongue, and cut off the calf of his leg, and left them all three in that situation.

“No reason can be assigned for this most inhuman transaction. The man was a Protestant, a peaceable, decent man; he taught above thirty of their children gratis, being allowed a salary by the trustees for forty more. He asked them whether he had ever offended them? They said not; but that was the beginning of what he, and those like him, should suffer.

“Shocking as this account is to human nature, it is publicly exulted at in the parish, and no person seems to think that any punishment will follow the commission of this most atrocious wickedness. So far were they from wishing to conceal it, that they proceeded on the road with torches, publicly and in defiance of every body. There is every reason to dread the most alarming consequences from the effects of this transaction. The Protestants are everywhere in the greatest terror, and unless government affords them assistance, must leave the country, as this recent instance of inhumanity, and the threatenings thrown out against them, leave no doubt upon their minds what intentions must be against them. The man and the boy can speak a little—the woman can not; and fortunately they are all likely to die, as, if they live, they are incapable of earning their subsistence. Terence Byrne is since fled.”

Was this, we ask, an occurrence upon which Protestants could look with indifference? We have printed in capitals that part of the report in which is recorded the acknowledgment of the inhuman savages that their victim had given them no special cause of offence; his crime was, that he was a Protestant.

Could any, then, who were implicated in the same guilt, feel easy while it exposed them to so terrible a penalty?

The assassins, too, be it remembered, triumphed in their crime—they gloried in their impunity—murder did not skulk to her hiding-place, and veil her deeds in darkness; it was then in Armagh as it is now in Tipperary—the murderer did not call on night to veil his crime, but raised his blood-stained hand in open day, and boasted of the sanguinary mark as one of honour; and was this a time for Protestants to remain inactive, and wait for the tardy protection of a distant and a dilatory government?

Men may tell us that Orange Societies are unconstitutional or extra-constitutional, and that if violence be offered, its redress must be sought from the ordinary authorities of the state. But we answer, that it is no time to talk of constitutions when men's fire-sides are assailed—it is no time to call on men to observe the etiquette of constitutional forms, and the violation of this is the worst charge against the Orangemen, when the dagger of the assassin is raised against their hearts.

It were a mockery of law to wait for its interposition until its object was defeated; it were more than could be expected of human nature, that Protestants should coolly permit themselves to be massacred and mangled like their brethren at Forkhill, lest, perchance, it might be said that they had formed themselves into defensive societies which the law could not recognize.

The Protestants justly thought their lives too precious to sacrifice to a point of etiquette, and leaving it to political casuists to settle whether their defensive associations were unconstitutional, or extra-constitutional, or both; they obeyed the impulses of nature and the dictates of nature's first law—they sought protection in combination, and they believed, perhaps erroneously, that they thus proved themselves better subjects and wiser men, than had they taken up an abstract constitutional principle, that men should not combine, and left the triumph of that principle to find its memorial in their murdered bodies and their desolated homes.

It was not, however, until September, 1795, that the first Orange lodge was constituted, although for some time previous the Protestants had been called by the name of Orangemen.

It was on the field of battle that the organization of the society was completed. The little village of the Diamond was the scene of a sanguinary affray between a large body of Defenders and a body of Protestants whom the pressing danger had called together.

The Defenders had attempted to destroy the Protestant houses; and the Protestants, suddenly summoned to defend the homes of their brethren, defeated them and drove them from the town.

The Defenders, we should mention, had commenced their defensive operations by pulling down the house of a man named Daniel Winter, and would, no doubt, have proceeded to do similar execution upon every Protestant house in the neighbourhood, when the Protestants assembled at the summons of danger, attacked their enemies, although far superior in numbers, and gave them a complete and signal defeat.

Their victory was followed by a truce, which was negociated by Joseph Atkinson, Esq., on the part of the Protestants, and Priest Treanor, of Loughgall, on the part of the Roman Catholics.

On the faith of this truce the Protestants disbanded and retired to their homes, when the next day they were summoned again to the scene of conflict, by the report, that a large body of Defenders had attacked the village.

Again they were victorious—again they drove their cowardly and perfidious assailants from the field; and, though provoked by a treachery that would have almost justified the severest retaliation they could inflict—triumphant over an enemy who had violated the most solemn engagements, an enemy to whom they had granted a merciful amnesty, and who had taken advantage of their confidence in his faith to gratify a malignant vengeance by a cowardly assault—the Protestants did not avail themselves of the opportunity for revenge which their circumstances so amply offered them. They had assembled to defend their homes from demolition, and they separated without doing any thing more than providing the means of permanent protection.

The aggravated perfidy of their opponents had taught them that it could only be by organized and regular combination that security could be obtained. They found that defeats could not repress, that treaties could not bind, the desperate and determined malignity of their foes.

On the battlefield of the Diamond—a field where freemen fought in defence of their children and their homes, and therefore far more honorable than the fields of haughtier conflicts, in which the mercenaries of tyrants have contended for the dominion of their lords—the victorious Protestants formed the first Orange lodge.

We have thus endeavoured, with as much brevity as possible, to sketch the circumstances which originally called the Orange Institution into being. We have endeavoured to adhere, with the most undeviating strictness, to facts; we certainly have given to them no colouring in accordance with any Orange predilections we may possess. Indeed our only apprehension is, that those who are well acquainted with the history of these transactions, will accuse us of unfairness in not having put the case of the Protestants in the same strength that a rigid adherence to truth would warrant.

But although, in undertaking the defence of the Orange Institution we have placed it on its trial, we have directly reversed the judicial maxim of the British law, and wherever a statement appeared questionable, we have given our opponents the benefit of the doubt, we have taken every pains to be accurately informed upon subjects, with regard to which, the very nature of the transactions renders it difficult to procure precise information. We know that we have no intention of deceiving, and we can hardly conceive it possible that we are misled. But if our statements be incorrect we challenge contradiction.

Facts, we know, our opponents find inconvenient things. It is much easier for them to deal in vague and general assertions, than to descend to distinct and specific details. Almost all the leading facts which we have now put forward, were stated some months ago by the Rev. Mortimer O'Sullivan, in his first speech in the Conservative Society; with this difference, that the reverend gentleman substantiated his assertions by references to Roman Catholic authorities, with which we have not thought it necessary to encumber our pages.

Not one of his assertions ever was contradicted. The speech attracted that universal attention to which its eloquence was sufficient to entitle it. It was inserted in almost all the journals of the empire; it was reprinted as a pamphlet; it was commented on by Mr. O'Connell, and denounced in unmeasured language by the popish journals; but the correctness of the statements was never denied; and yet men are still found hardy enough to stand up and unblushingly assert what Mr. O'Connell, perhaps in ignorance, did not hesitate to affirm upon oath, that it was the existence of the Orange lodges that called into being the treasonable and popish confederacies which we have clearly shewn existed in all the fulness of their desolating influence, long before the Orange association was even thought of.[2]

The truth is, and it cannot be too often or too strongly urged, that it was stern and unavoidable necessity that forced the loyal Protestants into a defensive association; and the same circumstances which created the necessity, determined the character of their confederacy.

The Defenders were the bigots of a superstitious faith, and sought, with all the sanguinary malignity of bigots, the extirpation of heretics, whom they believed the enemies of God. But even among Protestants the poison of infidelity and republicanism had been industriously diffused—and many of the Presbyterians, seduced from their faith by the sophistries of Arianism or Atheism, and from their allegiance by the republican principles of America, or the wilder speculations of French democracy, had entered on the mad resolution of employing in the cause of what they termed freedom, the tremendous agencies of popish bigotry and popish disaffection.

Thus it was that the society of United Irishmen was formed—and so early as the 10th of May, 1795, the constitution of that body had been completed at Belfast.

The Protestants, glad to find protection in any combination, from bigots of a superstitious faith, and the system of persecution and oppression by which they were harassed—many of them, too, discontented with a government which seemed unable to procure safety for their lives—and dissatisfied with a legislature that had just violated the integrity of their Protestant constitution, by admitting Roman Catholics to the elective franchise—were enrolling themselves in the ranks of the newly-formed association, with a fearful rapidity—and there is no doubt, that had not the Orange lodges concentrated and collected together whatever of Protestant loyalty remained unseduced by the dazzling speculations of republicanism, and uncontaminated by the influences of infidelity—the entire of the now peaceable and happy province of Ulster would have become, throughout her population, one mass of infidelity, and disaffection, and crime—and even if the rebellion which was so soon to follow, had not proved the deathblow to England's existence, and established a province of the French republic in Ireland, still Britain must have maintained her authority here upon her own resources.

And unsupported by any Irish loyalty—without any body of Irishmen, whom, in the hour of danger, she could trust—she could only have kept the island at that price which politicians have questioned whether any country be worth—the maintaining in it of a military force strong enough to overawe the entire of a unanimous and disaffected population.

The loyal Protestants thus surrounded by Popery, by infidelity, and treason—assailed on the one hand by the rancorous persecution of their ancient and hereditary foes—tempted on the other by the offers of men, who, willing, themselves, to make common cause with the popish insurgents, and thus endeavour to graft upon the prejudices of sectarian bigotry the revolutionary doctrines of infidel France—promised them a hollow security by entering into a treasonable fellowship in which they should meet their old enemies in the new character of allies—formed themselves into a society in which they might combine to resist the attacks of the popish conspiracy which menaced Protestantism with extirpation, and the principles of which might bind them to keep aloof from the infidel and the rebellious league into which too many Protestants had unhappily been seduced.

The basis of their confederacy they made attachment to their religion and loyalty to their king; thus boldly setting themselves against the double danger which menaced the security of British authority in Ireland.

With a feeling that may now perhaps be smiled at as the mere ignorance of rustic simplicity, they thought that they could not do better than hallow their confederacy, by a direct acknowledgment of that Being “without whom nothing is strong.”

“Pro aris et focis” was their rallying cry—and from the very circumstance that they raised their banner in defence of their fathers' faith, the Institution received a character of religion of which we trust it never will be divested.

This spirit breathed through all their forms and solemnized their very ceremonies by a reference to the sacredness of the cause in which they were engaged—the meeting of every Orange lodge is still opened and closed with prayer, and the formularies of initiation partake largely of the character of a religious rite.[3]

The Orangemen of Ireland, numbering as they do now among their ranks, so many of the great, the noble, and the intellectual of the land, are still not ashamed to follow the example of these humble peasants who, without the counsel of the wise, or the noble, or the learned, thought it well to consecrate their confederacy by interweaving with it the spirit of devotion and the mysteries of that faith for the pure profession of which they were willing to contend.

The founders of the institution, uneducated as they were in the wisdom of the world, had been taught by their parents, to hold in reverence their Bible and their religion; and they looked to God for protection in dangers from which it seemed that human aid could scarcely save them, and to religious principle for motives to resist temptations which human integrity hardly could withstand.

Before they admitted any man into their brotherhood they required that he should take, before a magistrate, the oaths of allegiance and abjuration; and havng received this necessary assurance of his political and religious principles, they then solemnly admitted him into their brotherhood with such ceremonies as might serve to stamp their union with all the solemnities of religious obligation.

They framed a rude system of signs and passwords, which have been already divulged before a committee of the House of Commons; they served the purpose of enabling them to recognise each other.

Their ceremonies, too, were rude, but they were impressive. Framed by men in humble life—and such men are ever fond of mystery—the whole system of Orangeism borrowed from Freemasonry much of unnecessary mysticism, which it required the lapse of time and the presence of superior minds to reduce to that severe but solemn simplicity which is now at once its beauty and its pride.

The institution, however, soon received the countenance of the gentry, who, confiding in the principles of the men who had formed it, and perceiving its usefulness as the means of preventing the scattered and unorganised loyalists from being absorbed into the illegal combinations which were extending over the country, came forward to enrol their names among its members, and to take the lead in its affairs.

The five sons of James Verner, Esq. of Churchhill, were initiated into the brotherhood, and Dean Blacker's family were also among the earliest of its associates; and many of the leading gentry having followed their example, a meeting was held at Richhill, at which the first county grand lodge was formed.

The association spread with a rapidity that might surprise us, if we did not recollect that the hour of danger is the time when its usefulness can be best understood.

We have the testimony of Mr. Plowden, quoted by Mr. O'Sullivan in his admirable speech, to which we so often have occasion to refer, that the Marquises of Hertford and Abercorn, Lords Northland and Londonderry, Messrs. Richardson and Brownlow—(alas, that this latter name should ever have been associated with the disgrace of a recreant apostacy)—and others of the landed proprietors of Ulster, “insisted on their tenants and labourers becoming members.”

They knew well that a system of terrorism was in active operation to force the peasantry into the traitorous league of the rebels, and they knew also that it was only by uniting in a loyal combination that the Protestants of the humbler classes could support each other to resist the menaces and the seductions of the disaffected.

And every means were employed by the enemies of the government to mar the effects of the institution, which they felt was defeating their designs: traitors endeavoured to procure admission into the lodges, and, by sowing dissension among the members, to break up the bond of union which pledged them to stand by each other in supporting their religion and their King.

The Rev. Holt Waring, one of the oldest and most active members of the institution, thus speaks in his evidence before the committee of the House of Lords in 1825. He was asked—

“Why was there so great an object in preserving secresy?”

“Because there have been the greatest pains possible taken to sow division among them, to prevent their being able to defend themselves. About the same time that this originated, or soon after it began, but before it had got to any great extent, United Irishmen were established, and there were great pains taken to draw the Orangemen, or those that were supposed to be so, from their allegiance, to join the United Irishmen; and emissaries from all parts were sent into the country, to induce the people, partly by persuasion, and partly by intimidation, to join the rebellious combination which was at that time meditating treason and insurrection; and for this reason it was absolutely necessary, if possible, to exclude all suspicious persons from the meetings of the Orangemen, and to afford protection, if they could, to those who refused to join the United Irishmen; for every art of intimidation was used, and the fondness of the people for associating together, their attachment to Freemasonry and all those private associations, gave a particular zest to this mode of keeping them true to their allegiance; for that reason it was countenanced.”[4]

A few years afterwards the question of the Union was insidiously employed as a means of creating dissension among Orangemen. But this danger was obviated by the prudence and discretion of the Grand Lodge, who pointed out to their brethren the arts by which their enemies were endeavouring to divide them, and earnestly entreated of them, as a body, to abstain from the expression of any opinion upon this much agitated subject. This prudent advice was followed; and while individual Orangemen were found among the warmest advocates of both sides, they still met as brethren in the lodge-room, from which the controverted topic was carefully excluded.

Disappointed in their project, the enemies of the government next attempted to injure the institution by vilifying its character.

With characteristic ingenuity, they turned its existence and its secresy to account, and they circulated among an ignorant and superstitious people the rumour that the object of the Orangemen was the extermination of the Roman Catholics.

This was no new artifice of the popish party: similar reports preceded, perhaps caused, the dreadful massacre of 1641.

Among the lower orders they obtained a ready credence, who, knowing that the popish associations were bound by oaths of similar import against Protestants, could see nothing improbable in the supposition that the Protestants might retaliate; and the leaders of the insurrection had art enough to avail themselves of their credulity, and thus make the foolish fears of ignorance a powerful auxiliary to the hatred of bigotry.

The Orange Association was not introduced into Dublin until the beginning of the year 1798, when outrages, committed in the very vicinity of the metropolis, proved that even there a defensive association was necessary; and with such malignant industry were the slanders circulated, that on the 9th of May in the same year, the Grand Lodge of Ireland deemed it necessary to publish the following address:—

To the Loyal Subjects of Ireland.

“From the various attempts that have been made to poison the public mind and slander those who have had the spirit to adhere to their King and constitution, and to maintain the laws, we, the Protestants of Dublin, assuming the name of Orangemen, feel ourselves called upon, not to vindicate our principles, for we know that our honour and loyalty bid defiance to the shafts of malevolence and disaffection, but openly to avow those principles, and declare to the world the objects of our institution. We have long observed with indignation the efforts that have been made to foment rebellion in this kingdom by the seditious, who have formed themselves into societies, under the specious name of United Irishmen.

“We have seen with pain the lower orders of our fellow-subjects forced or seduced from their allegiance by the threats and machinations of traitors.

“And we have viewed with horror the successful exertions of miscreants to encourage a foreign enemy to invade this happy land, in hopes of rising into consequence on the downfal of their country.

“We therefore thought it high time to rally round the constitution, and there pledge ourselves to each other to maintain the laws and support our good King against all his enemies, whether rebels to their God or to their country, and by so doing show to the world that there is a body of men in the island who are ready, in the hour of danger, to stand forward in defence of that grand palladium of our liberties, the constitution of Great Britain and Ireland, obtained and established by the courage and loyalty of our ancestors under the great King William.

“Fellow-subjects, we are accused with being an institution founded on principles too shocking to repeat, and bound together by oaths at which human nature would shudder: but we caution you not to be led away by such malevolent falsehoods, for we solemnly assure you, in the presence of the Almighty God, that the idea of injuring anyone, on account of his religious opinion, never entered into our hearts. We regard every loyal subject as our friend, be his religion what it may: we have no enmity but to the enemies of our country.

“We further declare, that we are ready, at all times, to submit ourselves to the orders of those in authority under his Majesty, and that we will cheerfully undertake any duty which they shall think proper to point out for us, in case either a foreign enemy shall dare to invade our coasts, or that domestic foes shall presume to raise the standard of rebellion in the land.

“To these principles we are pledged, and in support of them we are ready to shed the last drop of our blood.

Thomas Verner.

Edward Ball.

John Claudius Beresford.

William James.

Isaac De Joncourt.”

The importance, at such a moment, to the government, of being able to calculate with certainty upon the support of a powerful body of men is strikingly put forward here.

England was then engaged in that tremendous conflict in which, seventeen years afterwards, she won, upon the plains of Waterloo, the liberties of Europe.

Ireland was threatened with an invasion, and those who claimed a monopoly of the honoured name of patriot were not ashamed to invite the armies of a foreign despot to her shores.

Then it was that the Orangemen of Ireland stood nobly forward; they placed themselves at the disposal of the government, and on them the government relied.

The Protestant volunteers who, in 1782, had forced from England the recognition of Ireland's independence, were now, under the new name of yeomanry, embodied to maintain it against the attempted domination of France, and the troops were left to fight the battles of the empire abroad, which must otherwise have been withdrawn from posts where their services could have been but ill spared to guard Ireland against the treason of Irishmen and the meditated invasion of the French.

It must never be forgotten, that many persons entered into the confederacy of the United Irishmen, under the influence of intimidation, and merely to procure protection for their properties and lives.

Evidence was given of one district, in the county of Tyrone, in which, out of a population of 10,000, all but a very few, had taken the oath of the United Irishmen under the influence of fear; but, on the introduction of the Orange system, they renounced with indignation the alliance into which they had been forced; and enrolled themselves under the banners of the loyal confederacy.

But the effects of the Orange Institution may best be understood by comparing the present state of Ulster, with the condition of the same province in the closing years of the last century.

Protestants were then left without combination or system, and treason and disaffection prevailed in Ulster, with an energy derived from the character of the people which made them truly formidable—and now it is the only tranquil part of Ireland—the judges' circuits are almost a form—a maiden calendar is no unusual thing—and to the yeomanry of Ulster, even the Whig government looked for support, when the violence of Mr. O'Connell made them apprehend an attempt to force a repeal of the union by other means than “constitutional agitation.”

And this has not been done by the lapse of time—the change was almost as rapid as it was astonishing. Here, again, we are obliged to quote from Mr. O'Sullivan's speech; the truth is, though we have ourselves examined the historical documents from which the reverend gentleman quoted—he went so near to exhausting this part of the subject, that we could often appear to plagiarise if we did not profess to borrow.

“Such,” said the reverend gentleman, “was the change it effected in the north, that, in the year 1803, when Mr. Russell went down to excite commotion, his project failed; and, as Mr. Plowden writes, ‘such was the unassailable loyalty of the north, heretofore considered the hotbed of disaffection, that, during the whole time, he was not able to muster more than fourteen of the most abject cast, some abandoned drunkards, and others idiots and mad.’”

Men talk of putting down the Orange Institution by legislative enactments; let them remove the dangers which created it, and it will dwindle away without their interference.

In the years preceding 1814, when even popish treason appeared to have suspended its attempts, and a temporary tranquillity prevailed, the Orange Institution was scarcely heard of. It was, when agitation and its invariable concomitants, outrage and crime, again disturbed the peace of Ireland—that it again was animated into new vigor.

Let Protestants be satisfied that they are secure—let them feel that their rights are protected—let them see popish agitation suspended, and treasonable combinations effectually crushed; and, we venture to say, that Orangeism will cease with the necessity that created it.

A few factious spirits—and it is not to be expected but that some such should be found among Orangemen—may, perhaps, still combine for combination's sake. Some ardent spirits may yield to that natural error of enthusiasm (perhaps we should say that amiable weakness of human nature) which prompts us to transfer our attachment from the object to the means by which we attain it; and still love to maintain the association, which, in their hearts, is identified with all that is sacred and revered. But if we know the Protestants of Ireland, the great mass of them have no wish to keep up anything that could perpetuate the remembrance of religious dissensions. They have associated to defend themselves, they will separate when they are no longer attacked.

But we honestly confess, that we see no near prospect of such a state of things in Ireland, as would warrant the dissolving of the Orange association.

It is not in a few years, perhaps not within the period of a generation, that the wisest or the most vigorous government can hope to conciliate the affections, or to crush the hopes of those who still retain all the hatred to Protestants and Protestantism, which was originally engendered in the bosoms of ancestors—and who still treasure up in their souls their ambitious speculations the recollection of past and the dreams of future greatness, as a solace in their humiliation, and a counterbalance to the degradation to which, as the descendants of a robbed and persecuted people, they fancy themselves exposed.

We say that even the wisest government, acting on the most steady and uniform principles, could hardly be expected in any space of time, that those now living would survive, to remedy those disorders which centuries of neglect have rendered inveterate in the moral constitution of Ireland.

Much less can we hope to see such a result produced amid the eternal vacillations to which the policy of Britain towards Ireland seems now to be subject.

We have seen one ministry yielding to the dictation of Mr. O'Connell, in their management of Ireland—we see another embarrassed and hampered in their proceedings by an opposition of which he is really, although not nominally, the chief.

Every day furnishes but too intelligible indications of the hatred to Protestantism which rankles in the minds of a large and an ignorant portion of the population; and it is impossible that the Protestants of Ireland can dismiss all apprehensions from their minds—they are surrounded by those upon whose enmity they may almost calculate with certainty—they find that in England, the country to which they might naturally look for protection, their true circumstances are but little understood.

The Protestants of Ireland were originally placed here as a garrison to keep the country for England, and they are still in the midst of those who, for her sake, are their enemies; and they cannot shut their eyes to the fact, that it has become the interest of British statesmen to associate with their foes; and while they have no wish to borrow the tactics of their opponents, to overawe the legislature by their numbers, and make themselves formidable to weak politicians by a display of their organised and united strength—they still will maintain their institution for the purposes for which it was originally formed—to resist aggression and to defend, if necessary, their properties and lives.

And can it be said that this is a time at which it is unnecessary that they should be prepared to find protection in their own arm; when legislators are found so indifferent to their safety, as openly to threaten that an unprincipled vote of a factious majority might in one day leave Ireland without an army, and place its Protestant inhabitants at the mercy of those to whose forbearance they then might perhaps be indebted for their lives.

We have more, much more to say upon the subject of the noble institution we have undertaken to defend, but want of space compels us, for the present, to hurry to a close.

There are, however, some documents which, in justice to the Orangemen, we must lay before the public, especially as it may be that before our next publication, the attacks of our enemies in parliament, may render it expedient, that our friends should have some evidence, to refer to in its defence.

We pass over altogether the period of rebellion, and the services which the Orangemen then rendered to the state—we regret to be obliged to defer our notice of their conduct in this trying period—conduct which drew forth the high testimonies of Generals Lake and Knox, to the utility of their institution—testimonies coming from men whose characters make their encomiums honourable indeed.

There are some points upon which it is necessary that we should say a few words. Indeed we may almost add all that is necessary, by merely quoting the different declarations published at different times by the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

In 1823, an act was passed, declaring all societies bound by an oath illegal—and at the next half yearly meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the regulations of the society were changed in conformance with the altered law. The following circular announcing the change was forwarded to the officers of the different lodges. To the concluding paragraph we beg to call the particular attention of our readers. It is an example how the leaders of the Orangemen have ever set themselves to discourage that spirit of religious intolerance which their enemies represent them as cherishing and keeping alive.

“Dublin, 7th Feb. 1824.

Sir and Brother—I have the pleasure to transmit, for your information, the proceedings of the Grand Lodge at its half-yearly meeting which took place on Monday the 2d instant, but which, from the accumulation of business, was continued by adjournments until the evening of Wednesday the 4th. Although the peculiar and trying circumstances under which the institution was placed for some time back, were of sufficient notoriety in themselves to satisfy the minds of its members throughout the country of the unavoidable nature of the delay which has taken place in carrying on its affairs, the Grand Lodge conceive it their duty to acquaint you, that the chief cause of the delay was their anxious desire to have the institution placed upon the surest possible footing of security in regard to the law, ere they ventured to make the communication to the other lodges, or promulgate regulations which it might have been found necessary to alter or cancel. With this view, they took, from time to time, the opinions of some of the most eminent lawyers in the kingdom on the subject of the institution, which could not be accomplished without much delay; and they have now the satisfaction of being able to state, from the highest authority, that the Orange Association, as now constituted and regulated, does not in anywise militate against the law of the land; and that if any thing can cause it, or any branch of it, to do so, it must be a deviation from those regulations which have been compiled for its guidance with due attention and under the ablest advice.

The Grand Lodge trust that the brethren will not lose sight of this important consideration, aware, as they must be, of the fell eagerness with which their enemies are ready to avail themselves of any circumstances which may be turned to the disadvantage of the order, or used to aid its downfall. The Grand Lodge also trust that the brethren will study to conduct themselves as members of an association purely defensive, whose sole object is the maintaining our glorious constitution in church and state; and that, grateful for the blessings they enjoy, and the dangers they have escaped, they will live soberly and righteously in Christian charity with all their fellow-subjects, and in a constant obedience to the laws of their Creator and of their country; endeavouring, as much as in them lies, to keep a conscience void of offence towards God and, towards man.

“I remain, Sir and Brother,

“Your most obedient servant,

James Verner, Grand Sec.”

The next document which we are anxious to present, is a letter and resolution upon the subject of the Orange processions.

It is a well established fact, that there was a time when these annual celebrations of events, the recollection of which, every lover of liberty must hold dear, so far from provoking the hostility of Roman Catholics, were regarded by them, in many places, as a triumph which they might witness without offence, and in which they might even participate without a compromise of principle.

Ill designing men, however, whose object it was, while they talked of conciliation, to destroy all harmony between the professors of the two religions, aroused a feeling against these party exhibitions, as they termed them, which made the processions what they asserted them to be.

It is not wonderful that Protestants should feel deeply attached to these processions, which, to their minds, were hallowed by an association with all the rights for which their fathers had fought, and all the victories which their fathers had won.

It is not strange that they should not readily acquiesce in that legislative enactment which suppressed, with a high and haughty rigour, all the demonstrations of feeling which were wont, by their periodical return, to kindle up all the the enthusiasm of their hearts, and animate them with renewed attachment to the principles of the revolution—the only one which all parties agree in calling glorious.

But their processions gave offence—the unreasonable prejudices of the Roman Catholics were respected—and the Grand Lodge, on the 21st of May, 1824, issued the following circular:—

“Dublin, 27th May, 1824.

Sir and Brother—I have the honour to transmit to you the following resolution of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, which was adopted unanimously on the 21st instant, and to recommend it to your particular attention, as it is of great importance that the brethren in your district should act in the most strict conformity with an order which tends so strongly to show how much the members of the Orange Association are willing to sacrifice to the feelings, or even prejudices of their fellow-subjects, and how desirous they are that no excuse should be left for ascribing any of the disorders that afflict Ireland to their conduct or example. And I have the satisfaction to add, that this conduct on the part of the Orange Association, has been strongly recommended by our noble and illustrious grand master, Earl O'Neill, and that the resolution meets his lordship's full approbation.

“I have the honor to be,

Sir and Brother,

Your most obedient servant,

James Verner, Grand Sec.

“To—, county of—.”

Grand Orange Lodge,

Dublin, 21st May, 1824.

“Resolved—That in consequence of the evils which have arisen from the erroneous views which many persons have taken of the motives and conduct of the Orangemen of Ireland, and of the intention and tendency of the processions which have usually taken place on the 12th of July, in memory of the glorious revolution; the Grand Orange Lodge, feeling anxious to evince publicly their desire to promote tranquillity and to take from the ill-disposed every excuse for their misconduct, and willing to restrain even their own most earnest wishes, for the public avowal of that attachment to our glorious constitution, which is the life-blood of the association, hereby resolve- 'That no public procession of the Orange Association shall be made on the 12th of July next; and that our grand secretary be instructed to communicate this resolution to the several grand masters for the information of all concerned.

“Signed by order,

James Verner, Grand Sec.”

We regret that we cannot pause to comment upon these documents, so characteristic of that Christian forbearance and Christian principle which, let its enemies say what they will, we believe from our souls to be the spirit of the Orange Institution.

But our space compels us to be brief.

In 1825 an act was passed suppressing all political societies. The Orangemen obeyed the law—they dissolved their association and discontinued their meetings.

The Catholic Association appointed a committee to devise some means by which they might evade the law. It was no difficult matter for the ingenious chicanery of Mr. O'Connell to evade the clumsy enactments of Mr. Plunkett, or, as he was then termed by all parties, ignoramus Plunkett—enactments, perhaps, framed (do not subsequent events more than justify our suspicions?) with the express design of leaving loopholes by which wily sedition might escape the penalties of their violation, while loyalty would scorn to avail itself of the expedient.

For three years the Orangemen proved their obedience to the spirit of the law, for its letter they might easily have evaded.

In 1828, upon the expiration of the Algerine statute, they revived their system and framed its constitution in strict accordance with the law: and to the honour of the founders of the Orange Institution be it spoken, that those who, in 1828, made it their object to draw up rules which might defy even the cavelling of their enemies, were enabled to attain that object by adopting, without a single material alteration, except the omission of the regulations enjoining the taking of the oath—the very same rules which had been originally agreed to in 1798.

In November, 1828, the Grand Lodge published the following address to the Protestants of the empire:—

“It is not less the interest than the duty of Protestants to support, by every lawful means, the religious and civil establishments of their country. By these the honour of God and the happiness of man are most effectually secured. In the present era our religion is menaced by the attacks of Popery and infidelity, while our constitution is assailed by faction and sedition.

“Against this double danger the Orange Institution was formed, being so named in honour of King William the Third, Prince of Orange, the illustrious champion to whom Great Britain owes her deliverance from thraldom, spiritual and political, the establishment of the Protestant religion, and the inheritance of the Brunswick dynasty. We lay no claim to exclusive loyalty or exclusive Protestantism; but no man, unless his creed be Protestant and his principles loyal, can associate with us. We recognize no other exclusion. Our institution receives, nay, solicits into its circle, every man whose religion and character can stand these tests.

“We reject also an intolerant spirit. It is a previous qualification, without which the greatest and wealthiest man would, in vain, seek our brotherhood, that he shall be incapable of persecuting, injuring, or upbraiding any one for his religious opinions; but, on the contrary, that he shall be disposed to aid and assist loyal subjects of every religious persuasion, and protect them from violence and oppression. Such, and such only, are the principles upon which the Orange Institution was founded, and upon which it has uniformly acted—yet our enemies have affected to consider our forms and arrangements contrary to statutes which were enacted against treasonable and seditious societies. The spirit of such statutes could, by no ingenuity of perversion, be urged against the Orange Institution; but where, the most strained interpretation could question its legality, the institution promptly complied, and disdained to evade even the letter of these statutes. Our rules are open not only to the members of our institution, but to the whole community. We have no reserve whatsoever, except of the signs and symbols whereby Orangemen know each other, and these the law has not included in its prohibition. Our association is general: it meets wherever Orangemen are to be found, and that, we trust, will soon be in every part of the empire.

There is not either oath, obligation, or test which candidate or brother can take or offer in our society; the proposal of members, their admission, and their continuance among us are wholly unfettered with pledge or promise; nevertheless, we can truly tell the world, that no unqualified person can come into, and no unworthy brother remain in our fellowship.

“The Orange Institution cannot be suppressed, but by means which would subvert the constitution of Great Britain, and erase the name of the Prince of Orange from among her sovereigns. After that erasure the Brunswick dynasty would soon follow, the liberty of these realms, our religion, and our monarchy would again be placed under papal darkness and despotic oppression.

By order,

H. Maxwell, M. P. Grand Sec.”

With this beautiful and eloquent address—an address which promulgates the present constitution of the Orange Society, and which furnishes a decisive answer to the calumnies of those who affect, on the ground of some imaginary test and declaration, to consider the Orange Institution an illegal one, we must conclude, for the present, our very inadequate vindication of Orangeism.

We have taken up its cause in sincerity, and we have endeavoured to vindicate it with truth. Did we believe that the principles of Orangeism contained anything inconsistent with the pure maxims of that Christianity of which the first and greatest virtue is charity, no earthly consideration could induce us to adopt them—but believing in our souls that there is nothing in the institution which prevents its truest member from bearing in mind the lesson of Him “who maketh his sun to shine upon the evil and the good,” and that all its rules and regulations are based upon that book, which all professing Christians once revered—we trust that no earthly consideration will tempt us to desert them.

These may not be the days when high and lofty and unswerving principle will gain the friendship of the many, or the approbation of the great. Alas! alas! expediency has spread her foul and contaminating influence over many a heart that was made to beat with nobler emotions, and with a truer and more generous pulse. And too many, even of Conservative politicians, appear willing to forget that there is a God from whom all power is derived, and an infallible rule of right—a rule very different either from the will of an unruly multitude, or the convenience of party calculations, by which the exercise of that power must be tried.

Had we regulated our conduct by the maxims of expediency—it is probable that we never would have identified ourselves with that cause which, as was once said of a still holier cause, “is everywhere spoken against.”

But humble as we are, we would scorn to purchase the most extensive influence that ever human intellect possessed, or the highest honor that human ambition ever sought—at that expense which nothing human can repay—the compromise of a principle, or the suppression of a truth.

We have taken up the cause of our brethren, because we believed it to be just. Let the Orangemen be proved to be different from what we have represented them, and we will reject their alliance with indignation, and join with the cry for their suppression.

There may be among them individuals who mistake the principles of the body—there may be individuals whose zeal borders very closely, not merely upon indiscretion, but intemperance—when was there a cause that has not had its passionate and its injudicious advocates? But if there be such, they are the rare and the anomalous exceptions.

To the great mass of its members—to the principles of the institution, we confidently appeal. If its members shall be found those who, in all the relations of private life, are most respected and beloved—those too, who treat with the greatest kindness their Roman Catholic dependants—if its principles be found to bear the test of the most strict and searching scrutiny—then, for the Orange Institution, we ask no special protection, no exclusive favor—we ask that it shall be let alone—that it shall not be condemned without a trial—or tried without a charge.

Let politicians fight their factious battles for ascendancy, and toss to and fro the best interests of the country as the playthings of their political game. But let them find other means of embarrassing a government or conciliating an opposition than an unwise and a tyrannical interference with those defensive associations into which English misgovernment has forced the Protestants of Ireland.

The spirit of our ancestors still animates our breasts; the blood of our ancestors is flowing in our veins. The revolutionary tempest may howl around us; we will but gather the closer round those altars which our fathers have consecrated with their blood: we will remember those conflicts and those victories which it needs not the useless pageantry of a forbidden procession to keep fresh in our minds; and it may be that, when Protestantism and principle, ay, and loyalty, are become strangers in the courts of a British senate, and even in the councils of a British king, among the Protestants of Ireland, united together in the bonds of sacred brotherhood, they may find once more their asylum and their home.


[1] The following is one of the rules relating to the admission of members:—“The proposer of a candidate shall satisfy the lodge that he has put a copy of these laws into the hands of the candidate before his initiation, for the purpose of making him acquainted with the principles of the institution.”

[2] Of the degree of credence with which we should receive even the confident assertions of the pro-popery party upon that subject, of which, of all others, they are the most wofully ignorant—the insurrectionary history of Ireland—let the following serve as a specimen:—Mr. O'Connell was asked by a parliamentary committee in 1825—“Do you know at what time the Ribbon Association began in the north of Ireland?” His answer presents a curious specimen of the most complete ignorance of facts—for to ignorance we are willing to impute the blunder—concealing itself behind the most arrogant confidence of assertion—“No, I cannot say when it began; my own opinion is, that it is a continuation of the Defender system, which immediately ensued on the original formation of the Orange Association in the north, and was connecting itself with the French revolution and a separation from England.” It is perfectly notorious, that the Defenders were mentioned in the parliamentary proceedings of 1798; and that the first Orange lodge was formed in 1795 (see Mr. O'Sullivan's speech.) It would not be very difficult to prove that, as far back as it is possible to trace, a Roman Catholic conspiracy, under different names and designations, but easily to be identified by the uniformity of its objects, had existed in Ireland. The very name of Whiteboys occurs in Irish history so early as the year 1759.

We have often been surprised at the ignorance upon these subjects that prevails even among those who should be better informed. The civil and internal history of Ireland, is a subject that will well repay the labour of investigation. The Peep-o'-day-boys are believed by many to have been a Roman Catholic association: they were not an association at all, and they were Protestants. Some persons have been led by Musgrave into the erroneous belief that they were exclusively Presbyterians: they were indiscriminately composed of the lower order of Protestants; they never received any countenance or support from the better classes; they never had any organization, and were vigorously suppressed by the Protestant volunteers; they partook altogether of the disreputable character of those “factions” which sometimes disturb public tranquillity in many districts in Ireland. To the Peep-o'-day-boys the Defenders were originally opposed. We say originally; for the views of this confederacy soon extended beyond the confined limits of a local feud. This is abundantly evident, from the fact that, while there is no evidence that the Peep-o'-day-boys existed in any place but Armagh, the Defenders extended themselves over Monaghan, Louth, and all the neighbouring counties, and committed formidable outrages, at the same time, in the vicinity of the metropolis, and in the remote barony of Innishowen, in the county of Donegal. So early as 1793, they had organized bodies in Meath, in Cavan, in Leitrim, in Roscommon, and, some accounts say, even in Limerick and Kerry; and all this tremendous apparatus extending over a great proportion of Ireland and convulsing the whole kingdom by acts of violence and outrage, was put in motion to defend those who were attacked by a few bands of disorderly Protestants, in a narrow district of the county of Armagh!!

All this will, no doubt, appear perfectly inexplicable to those who are unacquainted with the real state of Ireland; but to those who are, the mystery will find a ready solution in a principle universally applicable to every disturbance in which Roman Catholics are engaged. In the University Magazine of last October, (vol. iv. p. 365,) we quoted the evidence of Major Warburton before the parliamentary committee of 1825. Speaking of the ribbon system, he said—“The objects of the conspiracy entered into by Ribbonmen are, to establish the Roman Catholic church and extirpate Protestantism, and to separate Ireland from England.* * * The propagators of the ribbon system avail themselves of any local disturbances for the purpose of introducing their own principles; and it is invariably found, that where disturbances are of long continuance, they lose their desultory character, and are methodized into political organization.”

This last observation clears up all the mystery connected with the extension of the Defenders. That they were originally the parties to a local and transitory feud there can be no doubt; but this feud was made available by some unseen agency for ulterior and far more criminal purposes. The confederacy, which at first contemplated local objects, was employed for purposes of national insurrection. The oaths of the Defenders were found binding them to treasonable projects; and we have Mr. O'Connell's testimony, that the ribbon conspiracy, whose objects are so clearly laid down by Major Warburton, is but a continuation of Defenderism. This, with the account of the Forkhill massacre, may help us to understand what it was at which the Defenders aimed, and what was the danger which the Orangemen associated to repel.

To follow up the considerations suggested by the important evidence of Major Warburton, would lead us into enquiries too protracted for our present purpose. We cannot, however, help asking, what is the agency by which every local disturbance is thus turned to account for the purposes of treason? Without venturing to assign agencies which naturally suggest themselves to the mind—we may discover that there must be in the minds of the Irish peasantry a strong predisposition to treason—that the feelings of the people must be imbued with the most determined hatred to the government—and that their minds must be filled with ambitious speculations, which it needs but the accident of a local disturbance to methodize into plans. A separation from England, the resumption of the forfeited estates, and the establishment of a Roman Catholic republic, are the darling projects which centuries of English misgovernment have not been able to eradicate from the minds of the Irish people. These are the feelings which are the strong impulses of the national heart—they have been developed in all the thousand and one conspiracies which, from the conquest, have rendered British authority in Ireland insecure—and all Mr. O'Connell's political influence is derived from this fact, that he has availed himself of these feelings and desires, and given them a new and additional channel. He has taught the people to seek by means of agitation, and the exercise of those privileges which the constitution has conferred on them, those dangerous and treasonable objects which formerly they endeavoured to attain only by the hand of violence. And while treason is still working as busily as ever in the rebellious and secret associations, and the crime and outrage which desolate the land—the insurgents gladly avail themselves of the subsidiary influence of the political power which the folly of liberal legislators has thrown into their hands.

[3] The ceremonies employed at the initiation of the brothers, have, like everything else connected with the Orange institution, been made the subject of gross misrepresentation. It is, therefore, with peculiar pleasure, that we are enabled to lay before our readers the ritual of introduction. The pure spirit of devotional religion, which is the characteristic of this interesting and beautiful ceremony, will speak more for the institution, to the religious portion of the community, than could the most eloquent advocacy of its admirers and friends.

“The applicant shall be introduced between his two sponsors: namely, the brethren who proposed and seconded his admission, carrying the Bible in his hands, with the Book of Rules and Regulations placed thereon. Two brothers shall precede him. On his entering the room, a chaplain, if present, or in his absence, a brother appointed by the master, shall say the whole or part of what follows:—

“O Lord God of our Fathers, art not Thou God in Heaven? And rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?”

“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord among the Gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou in thy mercy hast led forth thy people which Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.”

“Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us; for Thou hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God other Lords have had dominion over us: but by Thee only will we make mention of thy name.”

“Wherefore, glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea.

[During the reading of these the candidate shall stand at the foot of the table, the brethren all standing also in their places, and strictly silent.]

The master shall then say:—Friend, what dost thou desire in this meeting of true Orangemen?

And the candidate shall answer:—Of my own free will and accord I desire admission into your loyal institution.

Master—Who will vouch for this friend that he is a true Protestant and loyal subject?

[The sponsors shall bow to the master and signify the same, each mentioning his own name.]

Master—What do you carry in your hand?

Candidate—The Word of God.

Master—Under the assurance of these worthy brothers, we will trust that you also carry it in your heart. What is that other book?

Candidate—The book of your Rules and Regulations.

Master—Under the like assurance, we will further trust that you will study them well, and that you will obey them in all lawful matters. Therefore we gladly receive you into this order. Orangemen, bring to me your friend.

[The candidate shall then be brought by his sponsors before the master; the two brothers standing at each side of the centre of the table; during this, the chaplain or brother appointed shall say:—

“Many shall be purified and made wise, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty days. But go those thy way, until the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot all the end of the days.

[The candidate shall then kneel on his right knee; and the master shall invest him with the decoration of the order—an Orange sash. Then the Chaplain or brother appointed shall say:—

“When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice; they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord; they shall cry aloud from the sea.”

“Then the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains; and it shall be exalted above the hills, and the people shall flow unto it.”

“And this shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for a frontlet between thine eyes; for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.”

Then the master shall say:—We receive thee, dear brother, into the religious and loyal institution of Orangemen; trusting that thou wilt abide a devoted servant of God, and true believer in his Son Jesus Christ, a faithful subject of our King, and supporter of our constitution. Keep thou firm in the Protestant Church, holding steadily her pure doctrines and observing her ordinances. Make thyself the friend of all pious and peaceable men; avoiding strife and seeking benevolence; slow to take offence and offering none, thereby so far as in thee lieth, turning the injustice of our adversaries into their own reproof and confusion. In the name of the brotherhood, I bid thee welcome; and pray that thou mayest long continue among them, a worthy Orangeman, namely:—fearing God, honouring the King, and maintaining the law.

[Then the master shall communicate, or cause to be communicated, unto the new member the signs and passwords of the brotherhood, and the chaplain, or the brother appointed shall say:—

“Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace, good-will towards men.”

[After which the brother shall make obeisance to the master, and all present shall take their seats; the certificate of the new brother being first duly signed and registered.]

[4] At a time when it is proposed to make the nature of the Orange Institution the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, it may not be amiss to remind those who are anxious to put the nation to this very unnecessary expense, that both Colonel Verner and the Rev. Holt Waring were examined by the committee of the House of Lords in 1825, at considerable length, upon the subject of the institution. The signs—the passwords—with all the changes and variations they had undergone, from the original foundation of the society, were revealed—all the documents connected with the institution—the rules and regulations, as they had been adopted in 1800, and which, with the exception of a few verbal and immaterial improvements, have never since been changed—were subjected to the severe and jealous scrutiny of the enemies of the institution—and there were not a few of them upon the committee—but nothing was elicited in the slightest degree discreditable to its character. We cannot see that a second inquiry will bring forth any additional information: we are very sure that it will not produce a different result. It is most probable, however, that the wise legislator who proposed a second investigation was utterly ignorant of the first. Such are the men whom faction has raised into a fictitious importance, or, to speak more correctly, impudence pushed into an ephemeral notoriety.

The evidence of Colonel Verner and Mr. Waring is now bound up in a large volume of parliamentary reports, and is therefore accessible only to a few. It might, perhaps, serve the cause of Orangeism if it could be printed in a shape more calculated for general circulation.