RUFFIANISM IN LURGAN
After twelve days' inquiry, and the examination of 150 witnesses, a batch of Lurgan rioters, belonging to both the Orange arid the Catholic parties, have been found guilty by the local magistrates, and fined in various small sums.
In pronouncing judgement upon the rioters, Mr. Handcock, J.P., gave the following description of their doings on the 13th July on returning from the sham-fight at Scarva.
They proceeded along Edward Street, as far as the convent, beating their drums and playing fifes. When opposite the convent, they stopped, set up a cheer, waved Orange, handkerchiefs, and shouted, ' To hell with the Pope, 'No, Surrender', 'Wreck the convent', 'where are the priests' and like expressions. Stones were then thrown at the convent from the drumming, party. Most, of the houses along here are inhabited by Roman Catholics, who, standing at their doors, or on the street, and beleiving that this was but the beginning of
an attack on the convent, at once assailed' the Orangemen with stones. Eight police with sidearms only were following in the rear of the drumming party, and found the riot so serious that they retreated to the barracks, tor their rifles and for assistance.
During their absence a free fight continued with varying success to the combatants. A second drumming party came from Church Street to the assistance of their friends. The most exaggerated rumours prevailed that the convent' was wrecked, that a man was shot, that, a child was killed, &co and
the people poured into Edward street. The police being now reinforced and fourteen in number made their way where the two parties were in collision, and, having fixed bayonets, succeeded in holding back the Catholic crowd. The drumming party then went on up the street towards Fallon's Row, waving hats and cheering, and pitching stones into the houses of Roman Catholics as they went along. When they reached Fallon's row they smashed every pane of glass in the row, and the occupiers of the houses, alarmed by the very unexpected onslaught, in nearly every case ran out backwards into the fields, offering no resistance.
The Orange party, now having that portion of the street to themselves, proceeded to make the work of destruction complete. They broke in the windows, window-sashes, and doors, took out the furniture, beds, blankets, looms, webs, and yams, piled all in a heap, opposite the gate lodge, and deliberately set them on fire. They took the meal and flour, scattered it on the road, and burnt the bags. The occupiers of the houses were quiet, inoffensive Roman Catholics, who had not been engaged in the previous riot, had not given the slightest provocation for this riot, and in some cases, were not aware that any disturbance had occurred. One poor Woman had the midwife in the house, hourly expecting her confinement. Another has been ill ever since from the fright. In one house a poor sick child had to be left in his bed up stairs, so precipitate was the flight of the parents; and when his sister subsequently ventured in for him, she was attacked by four ruffians, and beaten. In another house was a widow, eighty-five years old, and the wheel and swifts, by the aid of which she earned her livelihood, were snatched up, broken to atoms, and burnt. Every piece of crockery in their houses was smashed. They broke all the windows in the gate-lodge and were proceeding up the avenue when the police were heard approaching and they decamped.
He read the following passage from a speech delivered by a dignitary of the
Church, and condemned the use of such language:
“Mr. Gladstone's Bill also forces upon our beloved Queen the abrogation of that solemn oath which she took at the coronation. To me it seems to aggravate the conduct of the present Ministry that they should endeavour to force to coerce, our widowed Queen to forswear herself. As soon as the Queen shall affix, her sign manual to the Gladstone Confiscation Bill she will sever the golden link
that binds the two countries together. She forswears herself and relieves the Irish Protestant of his allegiance. The revocation of the Act of Union will be as fatal to this country and to England as was the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to France, and as I said before, must be followed by a bloody revolution. It will then be for the Protestants of this country to consider what
Steps they will take to recover their civil and religious freedom. We are, indeed, at the present moment, standing on the threshold of the Gladstone abattoir, but we are, thank God, not quite disembowelled. No, the 'Protestants of Ireland will once more stand shoulder to shoulder; they will fight hand in hand, and sweep every Fenian rebel and every infringer of their rights out of the Country, clear them out — ay, and the Mayor of Cork and his myrmidons into the bargain.