« PreviousContinue »
his own knowledge exercised by the Orangemen 1806. over the Roman Catholics, Sir Évan Nepean appeared astonished, and declared his determination, that nothing'on his part should be left untried to bring the villains to punishment." "He desired Mr. Wilson on his return to the country, to transmit to him the necessary documents, with the depositions of the constables, &c. &c. in order, that he might bę"enabled to carry into exécution their joint wishes. Mr. Wilson complied, and although he = wrote to Mr. Secretary three official; and as many
private letters from that day up to the 12th of December 1806, he had never heard one syllable from him upon tlie subject ; nor was ever a single step. taken to punish the aggressor or his rescuers. Such was the result of this magistrate's application E to Lord Hardwicke's government to redress grievańces, to check oppression, and punish crimes.
The case of O'Neil, which gave rise to AIr. Case of Wilson's correspondence with the Bedford administration, was made known to him by the followi ing letter froin his parish priest, which but too truly sets forth the lamentable effects of governments? conntenancing the Orange ascendancy in Ulster,
in other parts of the country.".
! ', “ Constantine O'Neil, the bearer, is an honest industrious man, that has often suffered great in
as well as in other parts ou
1806. jury, but has been totally ruined within this week
past. It was therefore useless for him to make application for redress ; for government was considered as encouraging these proceedings for political purposes, which was evidently the case. But from the great providential change, that has happened lately, and froin the consideration, that no wise policy can direct the adoption or encouragement of such a measure at present, I now begin to think, that the men, who have been ruining this country by fire and sword these ten years past, would now experience a check. This poor man is a hatter by trade, and lived by his honest earn, ings, and was every way independent; for he was out of debt, and had saved some money. But on last Saturday night, which was the meeting night of an Orange Loulge, this banditti, who are generally yeomen, and armed, came to his house, when he and his family were in bed, and setting fire to the house, which was a thatched cabin, burned it and all his property to ashes, except what was carried upon their backs; they fired several times at himself and wife, who both providentially escaped with their lives, which are all, that now remain to them ; for their wearing apparel was also destroyed.
" I request you will be so obliging and charitable, as to give him instructions how to be redressed,': The magistrates, I know, ougl:t to be ap. plied to in the first instance; but this measure will be unavailing; for the magistrates abetted these proceedings from the beginning, and this nian
lives in the county of Armagh, and accordingly s not within the limits of your jurisdiction as a ma.
gistrate; hence your charitable advice is all that = is wanting, which I am convinced you will not re* fuse to give. His situation in life is too humble të for his address to government to be attended to Il with effect, when the men, against whom his En charges would be directed, are of some importance e as having authority, and there is no good to be ex21 pected from any magistrate ercept yourself in such
a case as this. I have the honor to be with sentibei ments of esteem and respect,
of this letter, questioned him minutely, as to the di particulars of the outrage committed against him.
His detail induced Mr. Wilson to lend his assistance towards prevailing upon some Armagh magistrate to take his examination, O`Neil had as-, sured him, that he durst not apply to any of the Armagh magistracy, lest his application might come to the ears of the yeomen and Orangemen, which would be attended with the certain loss of his life. He added, that, he was persuaded, there was not any Armagh magistrate, who would take his deposition. Mr. Wilson appointed O'Neil to meet him in Armagh upon a given day; when the first magistrate, to whom Mr. Wilson applied to
1806. take his informatiouis, thoughi" he lived near to
O'Neil's late residence, and though ten days had elapsed since tlre burning of the house; yet he declared bimself totally ignorant of the matter, and declived acting in it. He however advised O'Neil, as the most efficacióus motle of proceeding, to apply at once to the assistant barrister, who was then Holding the sessions, as he was assured he would take instantaneous means to lay hold of the incendiaries; but before the pour man could get the deposition written out, the barrister had left the court. Mr. Wilson spoke to a 'resident magistrate in Armagh, to take O'Neil's examinations; and when O'Neil went to him for that purpose, he was turned out of doors, and threatened to be kicked: that magistrate declaring, he could not take exa minations against his particular friends, the Messrs. Verner. Mr. Wilson liaving failed in his endeavours to procure O'Neil's complaints attended to in the regular course of justiee, complied with his request to transmit his mentorial 'to government, and enclosed it in a letter to Mr. Secretary Elliott, dated on the 30th of April 1806; in which amongst other strony truths, he said : * I have taken great pains to satisfy myself as to the truth of what is stated in the enclosed papers, and from a thorough enquiry into the character of thie unfortunate sub ject of them, I learn, that his only crime is that of being à Roman Catholic: a crime which, in the minds of certain men, makes him undeserving of the protection of the laws. It is with great concern I feel myself warranted to declare, that where
an Orangeman and a Roman Catholic are concern. 1806. ed, a most disgraceful partiality in favour of the former governs the proceedings of nine in ten of the magistrates in the part of the kingdom I reside in. And I cannot conclude this letter, without broadly and distinctly declaring, that, if the system with respect to the Roman Catholics be not materially altered, and that if the Irish gentlemen (the magistrates particularly) do not adopt a very conciliatory conduct towards them, there cannot exist a hope of cordially attaching them to the government, and sure I am, if they were properly and humanely treated, their hands and hearts would unite to support British independence.” He added, that if his Grace should think, that a personal conversation to explain what could not be thoroughly done by letter, would forward his benevolent and patriotic objects in this kingdom, he would instantly obey his Grace's commands by repairing to Dublin.
"I did not fail to take the earliest opportunity of laying before the Lord Lieutenant your letter of the 30th of April, together with its enclosures, and I have received his Grace's con mands to inform you, that his Grace has instructed Mr. Serr