OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Chapter XXVIII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7 page 3


Pages: 1 2 <3>

But whatever may have been the prudence of the chiefs of the party in England, however quietly the suppression of the organisation may have been effected on this side of the Channel, the society was very far from dying quietly, or dying at all in Ireland, its native land. It was stunned for the moment, but very soon recovered all its pristine vigour and became as troublesome as ever. Lord Mulgrave went to that country as viceroy, determined to govern on the principle of strict impartiality between sects and parties, but the Orangemen and the tories generally denounced him as the most partial and one-sided of viceroys. It was enough for them that O'Connell declared him to be the best Englishman that ever came to Ireland. Eulogy from his lips was the strongest possible censure in the estimation of the opposite party. The violence of party feeling against the government may be inferred from the fact that the recorder of Dublin, Mr. Shaw, one of the ablest and most eloquent of the protestant chiefs, denounced the Melbourne administration as infidels in religion. Lord Mulgrave, imitating some of the viceroys of old times, made a " progress" of conciliation through the country, first visiting the south and then the north. This progress was signalised by the pardon and liberation of a large number of prisoners, which produced much excitement and clamour against the government. It subsequently appeared that he had during his vice-royalty liberated 822 prisoners, of whom 388 were liberated without advice, the number of memorials which he received being 1,631. Although he evinced his impartiality by setting free all the Orangemen who had been imprisoned in Ulster for taking part in processions on the previous 12th of July, the members of that body were not conciliated. The Dublin grand committee published a manifesto, declaring that the mere will of the king was not law, and that their watchword should still be "no surrender." Sir Harcourt Lees, who had been long famous as an Orange agitator, issuing counter-blasts to O'Connell's letters and speeches, concluded one of his appeals on this occasion thus: - " Orangemen, increase and multiply; be tranquil, be vigilant. Put your trust in God, still revere your king, and keep your powder dry." In Ulster the organs of the Orange party called upon its members to resist the law against processions, since the provisions of the Emancipation Act against the Jesuits and other religious orders, who treated the law with defiance, were allowed to remain a dead letter. The Londonderry Sentinel warned off the liberal viceroy from that citadel of protestant ascendancy, and said, "If he should come among us, he shall see such a display of Orange banners as will put him into the horrors." The irritation was kept up by various incidents, such as setting aside the election of a mayor of Cork, because he was an Orangeman, setting aside two sheriffs, and the dismissal of constables for the same reason. In the meantime a tremendous outcry was raised on account of the alleged partiality of the Irish government on the subject of patronage. It was said that every office was at the disposal of the Roman catholics; that from the bench of justice down to the office of police-constable, there was no chance for any one else. In the midst of a war of factions in the spring of 1836, a tremendous sensation was produced by the blowing up of the statue of king William on College Green. On the 8th of February, a little after midnight, this astounding event occurred. The statue stood on a pedestal eighteen feet in height, surrounded by an in- closure of iron railing, the head being about thirty feet from the level of the street. The figure consisted of lead, and though weighing several tons, it was blown up to a considerable height, and fell at some distance from the pedestal. The government and the corporation offered rewards for the discovery of the authors of this outrage, but without success. It was a mystery how such a quantity of gunpowder could have been got into the statue, and how a train could have been laid without detection in so public a place, the police being always on duty on College Green at night. King William, however, was restored to his position, and he has ever since remained undisturbed, but without the provocation of glaring Orange, his colour being toned down into almost neutral bronze, and his pedestal serving the useful purpose of a public drinking fountain, to which the people have recourse without distinction of sect or party, and without even a thought of the Boyne water.

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spital- fields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, was unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.

<<< Previous page <<<
Pages: 1 2 <3>

Pictures for Chapter XXVIII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7 page 3

Major Sprague and the Indians
Major Sprague and the Indians >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About