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THE CUMBERLAND PLOT.

THE GREAT ORANGE ARMED CONSPIRACY TO DEPRIVE QUEEN VICTORIA OF THE THRONE OF ENGLAND.

The death of the Empress-Queen Victoria recalls to mind the singular story of an infamous, but happily unsuccessful, conspiracy that was hatched by the leaders of the Orange Society in the heyday of that oath-bound association— lß2B-1836. It occupies as wellknown a place in history as the Cato Street Conspiracy, and is known by the title of 'The Cumberland Plot. 1 It is so called because the principal actor in it, and the chief intended beneficiary by it, was Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, Imperial Grand Master of the Orange Association. The object of the plot was to alter the succession of the throne of Great Britain : to set aside the just and legalised claims of the Princess (late Queen) Victoria, and to place the crown upon the head of Ernest, Duke of Cumberland. The period covered by the underground workings of this great conspiracy embraced the years 1828-33. These were the golden years of the Orange institution, the time of its greatest power and most dangerous activity. Rev. Dr. Killen, the Irish Presbyterian historian, tells us in the second volume of his Eoclesiaxtical History_ of Ireland (p. 463) that towards the close of this period (1828183.">)' the Orange institute suddenly collapsed. Notwithstanding their loud protestations of loyalty, 1 he continues, 'its adherents had been recently involved in treasonable designs. The passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill in 1829 had driven them almost to madness, and ever since their movements had been marked by recklessness and folly. 1 The alarm created in the public and official mind by the threatening aspect of Orangeism led to the appointment, in 1835, of two Parliamentary Committees of Inquiry. Their investigations, says Dr. Killen (ii , 464), ' revealed the existence of a conspiracy to exclude the Princess Victoria from the succession, and place the Duke of Cumberland on the throne.' Miss Martineau, a contemporary Protestant historian, refers as follows to the Cumberland Plot in the second volume of her Thirty Year*' Peace (p. 266) : ' The revolutionary movement referred to as occurring at the other end of society was one which it would be scarcely possible to credit now, but for the body of documentary evidence which leaves no shadow of doubt on any of the principal features of the conspiracy. The whole affair seems bo unßuited to our time and the conditions of our monarchy — so like a plunge back into a former century — that all the superiority of documentary evidence of which we have the advantage is needed to make the story oredible to quiet people who do not dream of treason, plots, and civil war in England in oar day. 1 THE PLOTTERS. The 'body of documentary evidence* referred to by Miss Martineau shows that the conspiracy to alter the succession to the throne in favor of the Duke of Cumberland was conducted by the members of the Imperial Grand Lodge (London), which exercised complete and absolute control over the votes, policy, and destinies of all the scattered units of Orangeism throughout the world. Among those who seem to have been most deeply implicated were Lords Kenyon, Wynford, Longford, and Roden, the Duke of Gordon (Deputy Grand Master for Scotland), and the Marquis of Londonderry. The leading roles in the plot are, however, assigned by general consent to the Duke of Cumberland and to his intimate friend and familiar, Lieutenant-Colonel Blennerhasset Fairman who was Deputy Grand Secretary of the Orange Society. THE ARCH-PLOTTEBB. Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, was brother of the reigning King William IV. — the immediate predecessor of the late Queen on the throne of Great Britain. He is described by Spenoer Walpole,

Justin M'Carthy, and other historians as coarse, brutal, overbearing, unpopular to an extraordinary degree— a man ot iniainous character, of low morals, a mere brutal roue, whose behavior would disgrace a decent tap-room in oar day. Fairman was the Duke's jackal. Tne pay colonel had been an Orangeman bince 1815. During the illness of George IV. he had strongly advocated in tho Press and oth._rwine the appointment of a Repent— the Recent to h-i none other than the Duke oi Cumberlaud. _ In the Mornniq 11, raid and elsewhere he had al«o spoken filie'ht,in?lv of the claims of the Princess (the late Queen) Victoria to the throne. As the result of several loner private interviews between the Duke and Fairman at Kew, the latter was, on Cumberland's nomination, appointed Deputy Grand Secretary (and acting Grand Secretary) of the Imperial Grand Lodge (London). An easy-going Irishman (Chetwoode Eustace Chetwoode) had previously filled the position. Chetwoode was not the man for desperate undertaking's. It was therefore decided to pet rid of him. The method adopted by Cumberland and his associates came out in the evidence laid before the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry. It was briefly as follows : Two ' tylers ' of the Imperial Grand Lodge (Condeil and Osborne), aided by another Orangeman (Payne), broke into Chetwoode's chambers in Lyons' Inn (London) during his absence, and stole therefrom all the papers they could lay their hands upon, The thieves were paid for their services by Fairman. The stolen documents were placed in the hands of the Imperial Grand Lodge, and Chetwoode was thus at one stroke deprived of the only weapons by which he might have been a formidable enemy for the conspirators to deal with. Tie was soon afterwards dismissed from hi., position as Deputy Grand Secretary, and Fairman was appointed to (ill his place. From this moment an 'advanced ' movement, in the interests of the rouph old Imp; rial Grand Master, was pushed with feverish energy among the lodges. New signs and passwords were devised and every means taken to secure secrecy. An open resort to physical force and armed terrorism was adopted. The loyalty of the nation's last resource— the army — was tampered with systematically and on a vast scale. The Imperial Grand Lodpe officials exerted th« mselvts to the utmost to have Cumberland appointed Regent during the declining years of George IV. and William IV. They ignored or belittled the legal rights of the Duchess of KeDt and of her daughter the Princess (late Queen) Victoria— which had been established by Act; of Parliament— and did all that lay in their power to k(( p what they called ' the paramount claims ' of Cumberland as prominently a* possible before the public eye. From the day of Fair-man's appointment, Cumberland presided at the Imperial Grand Lo.l-e ln-dingn in the style and state of an actual king. And the h>d<rc corre.pondence of the period which subsequently appeared in the Report of the Parliamentary Committee (English), is full of a gu-at stcret scheme which certain Orangemen subsequently U'siiiL->d on oath was none other than an attempt to prevent, by aimed force if necessary, the accession of Queen Victoria to the tlip/ne of England. 'IKIUtOHISM AND DISLOYALTY. It would be impo^ible, in the course of a summary newspaper article, to &ihe an ad. qu.ito idea of the feverish energy with which the polL-y ot phy- c il force was nrtraum^d and pushed thioughout the llmpny lt r t'n p. no' by Cumberland aim his associates in infamy. A ; ■, c i.mv »,i Fuimans orreipoinienoe appears in the English Nlici 1' il, military Committee's Report on Orange Lodgis. It i- a< the Committee point out, filled with appeal to Oran»eiaen to terrorise oppobition out of existence by 'numbers,' by ' baldness o f attitude,' 'by a rapid augmentation of "our physical force,' 'to strike the foe [the Government] with awe,' to be 'an eternal source o' to ror to the enemy,' ' to stnice with terror and sore dismay' all who opposed thoir designs. The corrupting of the fidelity of the army went on at a merry pace. The for;, ation of regimental lodges — although strictly forbidden in the military regulations of 1522 and 182 ( J— was eagerly carried on. Ihe Irish yeomanry regiments were described as 'all Orange." Din'Mfection was systematically spread among the line in every part of the P-ritish Isles, in Canada, Australia, the lonian Isles, Malta, etc. All this was done by the cxprem direction of Cumberland and the Grand lodge, and letters were scut from the knot of titled conspirators impressing on non-commissioned officers the necessity of oisobsjing the commands of their superior officers. When the conspiracy was discovered there were over fifty regiments whose fidelity could not be counted upon. To these we must add the Iri«h yeomanry forces and the 310,000 to 860,000 Orange civilians who. according to the evidence of the Imperial Grand Lodge official*, were scattered through Great Britain and Ireland. The English Select Committee's Report points out that most of the Orange civilians were supplied with arms, and that all the members of that vast organisation— perhaps close on half a million of armed men at the time— were bound by oath to assemble at the command of Gr^nd Master the Duke of Cumberland, who thus held in his hands all the elements of a rapid and puccessful revolution. It was this dang«rouH power of rapidly and secretly mobilising vast bodies of armed famines wliu h, in the eyes of the English Parliamentary Select Committee of I.VJS. constituted the Orange Society a menace to the safety of the Kinpuv, and made the complete suppression of the Orange asx cation ' imperatively necessary.' All the time that the underground armed preparations were in progress, every uTort was being made by Cumberland and his accomplices in tt v >c Grand Lolge tok.ep the pretender 'in prominent shape' (as Fairman put it) before the public eye. As Lord Krougham said {Lift and /<w,.v, iii., 371), 'it became manifest that his Royal Highiu-w} now thought himself destined to play a great part, and he was flying at high game.' Cumberland's party industriously circulated ruin<,rs favoi.ible to the schemes of their Imperial Grand Master, and which contained contemptuous references to the legalised claims of the Princess Victoria, whom they described aa being- only ' a woman and a minor '—with the further addendum

that if she came to the throne she would become a Papist and would thus greatly endanger, if not destroy, the Protestant buocession. liriefly, a deliberate attempt was made to further the interests of Cumberland by creating a hostile public feeling, or exciting a popular uproar against the joung Princess Victoria. Her right toi the succession had betn decided not merely by claims of heredity : it had been dttermintd by Act of Parliament as well. It had been likewise settled at the same time by the voice of the nation that in the event of the demise of William during the minorily ot the Princess Victoria, her mother (the Duchess of Kent) was to be Regent. But the Orange leaders acted throughout the conspiracy as if th 3 Princess Victoria were de Jacto excluded from the succession, and at the same time were steadily preparing to secure, by armed force if necessary, the accession of the Duke of Cumberland in her stead. They were banded together to commemorate a successful revolution which took place in 1(588. On their own principles they could not well object to another ' glorious revolution ' in 1837, by which not a de facto king, bat a de jure queen whom they hated and whose Becluded life left her quite unknown to the British public—would be set aside in the interests of the Orange institution. Miss Martineau tells of the expectation of the ' loyal Orange* men ' to depose William IV. on the plea of insanity and to supersede the Princess Victoria. Fairman, in one of his letters lo Cumberland (published in the English Parliamentary Committee's Report), plainly advises his patron to put himself in a position to seize the throne. Hey wood, a Sheffield Orangeman, declared to Deputy Grand Master Kenyon that Fairman had assured the brethren as far back as 1832 that the deposition of William IV. was « not improbable.' The brethren referred to the Duke during the lifetime of William IV. as ' the nearest to the throne '—to the exclusion of the Princess Victoria. And Cumberland, as already stated, presided at the meetings of the Imperial Grand Lodge with the state and oeremony pertaining to the office of an actually reigning king. All this time the scheme of the conspirators was spoken of only to ' safe ' people, and in whispers and enigmas. In Fair man's letters it is referred to as ' a great divulgement,' to be mentioned to ' only sure Tories,' who are known to be ' STAUNCH ' (the capitals are his), and who felt what they owed to their ' unflinching champion' (Cumberland). They were cautioned to 'nerve themselves' for a great occasion that was coming. This is elsewhere referred to by Fairman as a ' civil war,' a fast approaching time ' when matters will be brought to an issue ' by the physical force of Orangeism, when ' a conflagration not easily to be extinguished ' would be set alight which ' all the efforts of its opponents would never be able to smother.' Lord Kenyon — one of the conspirators — declared in a letter to Fairman that he (Kenyon) had spent ' nearer £20,000 than £10,000' in 'the good cause.' And Fairman, in a quarrel with Cumberland over payment (or was it blackmail ?) threatened hia patron with ' exposure ' unless his demands were complied with. These seem to have been abundantly settled, for he successfully concealed a vital part of the Grand Lodge correspondence, and refused to give it up on the order of the Parliamentary Select Committee. Au.id*t strong opposition from the Orange party, the House of Commons insisted on the production of the missing correspondence. Fairman defied the order of the House. He was committed for breach of privilege and — promptly absconded. The mysterious letters — which, as he plainly said, referred to Orange matters — were of a nature which (he declared) he could not divulge without ' convicting himself ' and involving others. But to this day thuir contents have never been brought to the light of day. THE PLOT EXPOSED. A fact of marked significance was this : the whole Orange party in the House of Commons solidly supported Fairman in his refusal to surrender the incriminating documents. ' The flight of Colonel Fairman,' says the National History of England (vol. iv., p. 298), ' and the destruction or concealment of documents which the House of Commons, through the Speaker, insisted that he should deliver up, baffled further research at a critical point.' But abundant other evidence of the existence of the Orange conspiracy against the Princess Victoria was forthcoming. A number of compromising letters which do not appear in the published Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee (English) were published in the London and Westminster lievtew of January and April, 1836. Other incriminatory documents fell into the hands of Mr. Finn and Mr. Hume, M's P., and have not yet seen the light of publication. Shortly before his death Mr. Finn placed the papers that remained in his possession in the ha-idn of tho well-kuown historian, Dr. R. R. Madden. After the death of the latter, hii library was sold in 1887, and a manuscript history of Orangeism, embodying the papers preserved by Mr. Finn, was secured by a private collector for a large sum. Dr. Madden {United Irishmen, vol. iv., p. 13) says that the 'proof -i of the existence of that [the Cumberland] conspiracy' 1 were considered of too formidable a character by the Government of that day to be published in a Parliamentary Report.' The publishers of the London and Westminster Review offered to produce the originals of the documents printed by them in the event of the prosecution of the Duke of Cumberland for treason. They likewise published in extenso the sworn depositions of an Orangeman directly implicating Fairman in arrangements for the deposition of William IV. by force of arms, if necessary, and placing the Duke of Cumberland upon the throne, to the exolusion of the Princess Victoria. An Orangeman named Heywood, of respectable character, wrote a letter to Lord Kenyon in Ocitober, 1835, involving Fairman and the Grand Lodge in the conspiracy. Mr. Hume and Mr. Finn directly charged the Duke of Cumberland and his colleagues of the Grand Lodge in the House of Commons with heading a vast conspiracy to alter tire "succession to the throne. This was on February 12, 1836, 'It was clear to the [Parliamentary Select] Committee,' says Miss Martineau (vol. ii., p. 277), 'that the evidence bore out Hey wood's statements' 'It was proposed,' says

Rev. Dr. Killen, the Presbyterian historian (ii., 464), ' to commence * criminal prosecution against the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Kenyon, the Bishop of Salisbury [Grand Chaplain], Colonel Fairman, and others believed to be implicated in the scheme of rebellion.' _ The public were on the tiptoe of expectation. ' Rut meanwhile,' says Killen, 'Hey wood, the chief witness against the conspirators — in an agony of excitement, created by a sense of the Lpeculiarly dangerous position in which he stood — burst a bloodrVessel and died. . . Under the influence of alarm, all the English lodges were abruptly dissolved, and as the [ Orange J party was thus thoroughly humbled, it was deemed expedient not 10 press* a loiinidftbie combination to extremities, and to give up the prosecution.' And thus, says Justin McCarthy (England Lndir Gladstone, p. 277), ' the Orange plot to place the Duke of Cumberland upon the throne instead of Queen "Victoria waa discovered and defeated.' OEANOEISM SUPPBESSED. The revelations made regarding the vast physical strength of the fraternity, and the extent to which they had tampered with the fidelity of the army, produced, says Misa Martineau (ii., 278), 1 a universal Bense of danger in the leaders of all parties,' and it was deemed 'not safe to drive them [the Orangemen] to resentment or despair.' The House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution, on February 23, 1836, requesting the King to take measures for the effectual discouragement of Orange lodges.' This the King did, calling upon all his 'loyal subjects' to 'support [him] in this determination.' Cumberland saw that ' the game was up.' He had played a desperate game for high stakes, and lost. He bowed to the^ inevitable. The English lodges were dissolved. ' The Irish Society,' eaya the London and Westminster Review (April and July, 1836, p. 201), ' is abandoned by all who gavo it either weight or respectability. The disreputable portion of it have thrown off their yoke of _ allegiance ' and defied the royal proclamation ; and, nays Killen (ii., 465) they 'continue to this very day to keep up an unhealthy excitement among the lower orders of Protestants throughout the country ' [Ireland], 1 Such,' says Miss Martineau (ii., 274), ' was the institution — the great conspiracy against the national will and national interests, the conspiracy against the rights of all, from the King on the throne to the humblest voter or soldier or sailor or Dissenter or Catholic — which waa discovered by the energy and diligence of Mr. Hume in 1835.

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THE CUMBERLAND PLOT., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXIX, Issue 5, 31 January 1901

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THE CUMBERLAND PLOT. New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXIX, Issue 5, 31 January 1901

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