Ireland Old News
March 04, 1836
CAVAN ASSIZES -ABANDONMENT OF THE PROSECUTIONS
AGAINST ORANGEMEN BY THE GOVERNMENT.
The Irish Government has directed the abandonment of all the prosecutions against persons charged with violating Lord Stanley's Act, the 2d and 3d William IV., c. 110, against party processions: and circulars, a copy of which I subjoin, have been forwarded to the Crown counsel on the north-western and north-eastern circuits, intimating the desire of the Lord-Lieutenant that the parties indicted under that act at the present assizes, for marching in processions, shall not be brought to trial.
This, certainly, is a very proper and a very conciliatory proceeding upon the part of the Government, and will have no inconsiderable effect to promoting the excellent and judicious advice put forward in the address of the Duke of Cumberland and the leaders of the Orange Institution. If the Government, instead of the temperate course which it has adopted on this occasion, had persevered with the prosecutions, the very worst consequences would have resulted, and the Orangemen of Ulster would have been driven by extreme initiation into a dogged determination to persevere in their system of secrecy and affiliation, until the suppression of Orange lodges by a special act of Parliament would become absolutely necessary.
I subjoin a brief report of the important and truly gratifying proceedings at the assizes for the county of Cavan yesterday. The same lines of conduct will be adopted in the various other counties where Orangemen stand charged with violating the law.
Patrick Maxwell, John Barnes, George Lucas, Robert Lisgow, James M'Elvey, and James Parr stood indicted, with 19 others, for assembling and marching to an Orange procession at Knockbride, on the 13th of July last, and having answered, were called on to plead, whereupon
Mr. Schoales, King's counsel, the leading Crown counsel, said he thought that a proper time to communicate the contents of a letter transmitted by Mr. Drummond, containing directions from his Excellency the Lord-Lieutenant, which would relieve the Court from the trouble of trying the traversers. The learned gentleman expressed his disapprobation of the course pursued by the traversers, against whom true bills had been found by the grand jury, but hoped there would be an end to such proceedings for the future, as one branch of the Legislature had marked their disapproval of them. He then read the resolutions adopted by the House of Commons, and His Majesty's most gracious answer, in an audible and impressive manner, after which he read the following letter from the Lord-Lieutenant :-
"In reference to the pending prosecution against persons charged with marching in illegal procesions, under the act of 2d and 3d William IV., c. 110, I am commanded by his Excellency to inform you, that in consequence of the resolutionsof the House of Commons, relative to Orange and other secret societies, and of His Majesty's most gracious answer to the address, and of thge steps immediately taken by his Royakl Highness the Duke of Cumberland, as grand master, for the dissolution of the Orange societies, it is his Excellency's pleasure that no further proceedings shall be taken in such cases, and the persons cncerned relieved from all liabilities arising frm such transactions, it being understood, however, that this direction does not apply to persons who, having joined such processions, have also been charged with violence or other misconduct of a criminal nature. His Excellency is induced to take this step, having the most perfect confidence in the gooid sense of His Majesty's loyal subjects, that under these altered circumstances there will be no repetition of similarviolations of the law, and earnestly hoping that the spirit which has led to such unhappy results may, from henceforth, give place to a better feeling among all classes of the community.
"To the Crown Counsel on Circuit."
He then proceeded to say there was no charge of violence preferred in this or in another case which would be called on shortly: he therefore felt bound not to proceed with the prosecutions. In conclkusion, he said, he understood the Duke of Cumberland had transmitted orders to alkl the Orange lodges in both countries to dissolve, and that all the influential leaders of the institution had assented to the wishes of their grand master. He hoped and believed the letter of the Lord-Lieutenant, which he had just read, would be productive of much good, as it appeared to him to be written in a spirit which furnished an example worthy of imitation.
Mr. Baron Pennefather expressed his thanks to his Excellency, for the course adopted by him on the present occasion, one which, he said, relieved him from the discharge of a most painful duty. "It was," said the learned Baron, "my lot to preside in this very court when the first indicment was preferred under tghe Procession Act, and I thoiught we should not have any more such processions when the law was made known: I was disappointed: for I now have it on the oaths of the grand jury of this county, that you (addressing the traversers) have violated the law. "He hoped, however, there would be no repetition oif these offences, and he called on the traversers as Christians, as loyal men, as good subjects, and as the descendants of those who fought for the liberties of their country, to abstain from such illegal acts. The law, he said, is not dead, it only sleeps, it has not expired, and Government will be imperatively called on to act with the utmost severity if, after this, the law shall be again set at defiance.
The traversers were then discharged: after which Edward Nixon, Joseph Bredon, Hugh Byers, and four others, were discharged for similar offences at Ballyjamesduff.
Submitted by: County Cavan Newspaper Transcription Project