TWELFTH OF JULY, 1878
This day, so much dreaded by all lovers of peace and law and order, has passed off this year with less than the usual amount of [lawlessless] and riot. In the United Kingdom, the demonstrations that took place were the most miserable character. The need of public by professing their attachment to the throne by gaudy processions and insulting words and tunes appears to have lost its hold on the average English, Irish and Scotch mind. Only one or two localities in the British Isles were disgraced by unseemly conflicts between citizens of this mighty empire. No lives were lost, and much less than the usual amount of bloodshed was the result of the day’s proceedings. Strange as it may appear, the most serious encounter between the rival factions appears to have taken place in a Scotch town, where one would least expect such disorder on such an occasion. In the United States, the “truly loyal,” whom it is asserted, are not and can not be from the nature of their secret oath-bound society, loyal to the United States Government, do not appear to have entered into the celebration of the “ pious, glorious,” etc., with the usual enthusiasm. This is to be expected. No true American citizen can at the same time be a good Orangeman. If there is one thing more insisted on than another in the Constitution of the American Union it is surely toleration. This being so, no Orangeman, whose aim must every and always be, if he be faithful to his engagements, Protestant [ascendency], can be a faithful defender of the laws and traditions of a free and tolerant Republic. The oath pledged to one authority must naturally clash with that given the other. Clear sighted Americans are not slow to see this. Hence the utter want of power and respectability among the Orange body in the United States. That we may not be thought guilty of a want of impartiality in writing of an organization that is considered by some as respectable and law-abiding, we quote the testimony of Mr. Elwood Harris, who writes over his own name to the Montreal Post with reference to the character of the Orangemen of his [acquaintence] in New York. Mr. Harris says : “Now, sir, I, who am a North of Ireland Protestant, need not have recourse to newspapers to find out what Orangeism is; and while I yield to no man in my unswerving allegiance to the Protestant religion I look upon that peculiar association called Orangeism as the greatest curse that can be introduced into a community. My Orange acquaintances are about the worst Protestants I know, they seldom go to church, and the only time they handle a bible is when they are sworn into a secret, an illegal and a disloyal society. “This testimony as to the status of Orangeism in the United States can hardly be suspected of undue partiality as it comes from a gentleman who proclaims his “ unsorrowing allegiance to the Protestant religion.”
In Canada it is gratifying to note that the [fell] spirit of fanaticism, as shown by intolerant Orangemen, has given public proof of only insignificant proportions of its existence. In this province only a few paltry attempts at display were made, and the result has not been such as to augur well for the future of Orangeism here. At Musquash, Pisarinco, Golden Grove, St. Stephen and Dorchester, the only celebrations occurred, and these were not of an alarming character. Our local readers will very readily perceive the magnitude of attempts at gorgeous display in such places as Pisarinco, Musquash and Golden Grove. As these localities are at best but sparsely populated, and as it is fair to suspect that not nearly the entire population turned out, it must be concluded that the demonstrations were not on a magnificent scale. The daily papers reported that special trains (?) took excursionists from St. John, Fredericton and Woodstock, to the most ambitious of the Orange displays, held at St. Stephen. The same reliable authority stated that the excursionist by the “ special trains” numbered – forty ! This would give an average of 131/3 from each of the populous places named above. At Dorchester, it is said, that two or three hundred members of the Orange Association perambulated the streets of that town, and further, that Mr. Reynolds, of the Borderer, a paper that has recently attained a bad pre-eminence, appeared as one of the leaders ; also, that Mr. Blakeslee, the defeated of St. John, was to the fore. Well, men of certain calibre must have triumphs of some kind, and these Orange triumphs are about the cheapest we know of. It is gratifying to record that nothing occurred to create ill-feeling, more than what the brethren of the yellow line themselves were guilty of. The twelfth in Montreal was looked forward to with much anxiety by all, but there no lives were lost, only two or three grievous encounters took place, and the firm action of Mayor Beaudry resulted in keeping the peace of the city. As far as the province of Quebec is concerned, the “ rights” of the Orangemen have been pretty well settled. Some journals claim that no attempt can ever again be made in Montreal or, in fact, in the Province of Quebec, to insult the Irish Roman Catholic population. Should this prove true, one cause of weakness will be removed from our midst, and the people of the Dominion will be able to act in union for the future welfare of Canada.