Thursday, 29 August 2013

A Notable Newry Election.

ISAAC CORRY of Newry was for thirty years the representative of his native town -- a record membership. Seven times he was elected, first to the Irish, afterwards to the Imperial Parliament. He was a member of one or those old commercial families of high standing of which there were several in our town in the latter part of the eighteenth century, and at an early age obtained the admiration and confidence of his fellow-townsmen by his abilities, charm of manner, and his patriotic principles.

In 1776 there was a general election to the Irish Parliament, and Isaac Corry was after a contest elected with Robert Ross as his colleague, for in that Parliament the borough had two members. It may be remarked that in this Isaac Corry succeeded his father Edward, who sat for Newry for a couple of years prior to this date.

In those old times most of the towns which had Parliamentary representation were what were called "close boroughs." The power of voting was confined to a few individuals, members of the corporation or favoured freemen. In general, too, the local landowner exercised a predominant influence over the electors, and was styled the patron of the borough. The patronage was openly sold and bought in the same manner as any other species of property. In such towns the members were merely the nominees of the patron or of a very limited number of persons. Often they did not come into communication with the inhabitants at all, and in fact knew nothing of the places they were supposed to represent. The election was a mere formality. The handful of electors were generally unanimous, and if not, their differences could easily be settled in a small room. Such were the 117 boroughs of the Irish Parliament, with the exception of about twelve.

Newry, however, was not one of these close places; it was an open borough, with a wide and extensive franchise which admitted almost every householder. In it an election was a very genuine proceeding, which aroused the most intense interest and excitement. If contested, it lasted for several days and some hundreds of electors voted. The men who sought to be elected required to have a strong hold on the popular affections. Even the Nedhams (the owners of the greater part of the town), so far from having any predominating influence, had to fight hard for themselves (if candidates), or any others whom they favoured, and on one occasion Mr. George Nedham won his election by only a small majority. In truth, the townspeople showed at this period a greater amount of independence than many of them did at a later date. From the number of cases in which the elections were followed by petitions to the House of Commons complaining of unfair practices, and from statements in these petitions, it is clear that no stone was left unturned to obtain success, and that a seat for the borough was very much valued. It must also be remembered that the town enjoyed at this time a very high degree of commercial prosperity, which probably conduced to its political activity.

Such was the bright and energetic community which chose Mr. Isaac Corry as one of its representatives, and which contented itself with him for such a lengthened time, and it cannot be said that this was so because there was a stagnation in public affairs, for the period of his membership embraced stirring events and great changes, the declaration of the Legislative Independence of Ireland, the rise of the United Irishmen, the Insurrection, and the Union.

When Corry entered Parliament, he attached himself to the Patriotic or Anti-Government Party, took an active part in the debates of the House of Commons, especially on questions connected with finance, and went far to justify the proud anticipations which the Newry folk had formed of their brilliant young townsman's success.

After the lapse of seven years, Mr. Corry was again, in 1783, after a strongly contested election, returned, and this time at the head of the poll, with Mr. Ross again as his colleague. Again almost seven years elapsed, and another general election was in 1790 impending, but just before it a change took place in the Parliamentary position of Mr. Corry. The Marquis of Buckingham, the then Viceroy, considered it desirable in the interests of his Government to attach to it some of the more prominent members of the Opposition, and amongst those on whom his favours fell was the senior representative of Newry, whom he appointed Surveyor-General of Ordnance. This was probably a sinecure office, or almost so. It carried with it a salary, and of course the acceptance of it detached Mr. Corry from the ranks of the Parliamentary Opposition. After this the General Election came on, but, although other candidates presented themselves, Messrs. Corry and Ross were again returned. It thus seems that the electors of the town did not resent Mr. Corry's acceptance of office. It is remarkable how often constituents reconcile themselves to the abandonment by their representative of an independent position. They probably expect that those representatives, when turned into office-holders, even if they be less useful to the country, will be able to confer material benefits on those through whose favour they occupy their seats in Parliament.

Another seven years pass, bringing us to 1797, and another General Election. Mr. Corry is again elected, with the same faithful colleague -- on this occasion without opposition; had there been a contest, it would have been the first election (except the one to James II.'s Parliament) at which the Catholics of Newry could have voted, as their disabilities for the electoral franchise were only removed in 1793.

Having been advanced a step in the official ranks by being appointed Surveyor-General of the Royal Lands and Manors, Mr. Corry again appeared before his constituents in January, 1798, and was again re-elected unopposed. The strong active spirit which had prevailed at the elections some time before, and which led to so many contests, seemed to have entirely fled -- in fact, the people were at this period looking to other means than parliamentary action for redress of their grievances.

In 1799 he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and re-elected for the sixth time. Want of space compels here the omission of several matters of interest following.

At the election of 1806 Mr. Corry was opposed by Lieut.-General Francis Needham, (William Nedham had died, leaving his property in Newry to Robert Needham, Viscount Kilmorey) brother of the new Lord of the Manor. Elections at this period and for a considerable time after were held at the Market-house in Castle street (Many readers will remember this building as it appeared before the alterations made some years ago. It had four large open arches in front, and a wide space within those arches, on the level of the street; it formed a very suitable place for an election) and the presiding officer was the Seneschal of the Manor of Newry. This officer owed his appointment entirely to the Lord of the Manor for the time being. At this election, therefore, the Seneschal was placed in the invidious position of having to decide all the questions raised in a contest, one party to which was the brother of his own employer.

Amongst a number of poll-books which have been preserved is that for this election of 1806. (This election took place after the Union (1801), when representation was reduced to one member.) It has been transcribed by the patient industry of Dr. Crossle, and from his transcript the portion of this article dealing with the election has been compiled.

The election opened in the "Boat Street" (The Market-house was then accounted part of Boat Street.) Market-house, on Monday, 10th November, 1806, Robert Thompson was Seneschal, and in that capacity read the precept from the Sheriff of the County of Down, requiring him to hold the election.

Proclamation being made for the electors "to come forward and proceed to an election," Matthew Russell proposed the Honourable Lieut.-General Needham. Daniel Jennings seconded him. The latter was a Catholic, and resided in Mill Street. (There were several families of this name in Newry, each related to the others.) William Beath proposed the Right Honourable Isaac Corry. This was seconded by James Reilly. Mr. Beath had also proposed Mr. Corry at the election of January, 1798. He appears to have been a great friend of the Corry family, and was probably also a neighbour. So far back as 1767 he was mentioned asa merchant of "Custom House Quay."

There was a laneway off Castle street, occupied until some years ago, called Beath's Alley, which probably formed part of his property.

James Reilly, the seconder, was a Catholic, and resided in Castle Street. This shows us that there was a cross division in the constituency, and that each candidate was anxious to make it clear that he had supporters in each portion of the electorate.

"The Seneschal having required all the electors who thought the said Francis Needham a proper person to represent the borough of Newry in Parliament to hold up their hands, the same was accordingly done, and in like manner required all the electors who thought the said Isaac Corry a proper person to represent the said borough in Parliament to hold up their hands, and the same was accordingly done, and thereupon the Seneschal being unable to determine a majority by such show of hands, a poll was demanded by James Bell, an elector, and agreed to by the Seneschal."

Mr. George Atkinson, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Down, administered the oath to the returning officer, by which he swore to honestly, impartially, and without favour to any candidate take the poll, not to take any fees above the lawful amounts, and to return such person as should appear to the best of his judgment at the close of the poll to have a majority of legal votes. (Mr. George Atkinson was grandfather, to Dr. Crossle.) Then, as considerably more than 200 electors had polled at former elections, the Seneschal appointed Mr. Atkinson as his Deputy to take the poll in the adjoining Court in the same building, and he administered the Deputy's oath to Mr. Atkinson. As a matter of fact, at the election of March, 1774, at least 597 electors voted, at that of 1783, at least 543, and at that of 1790, at least 384.

Next was an elaborate arrangement, that voters were to be produced by "tallies" of five on each side alternately, General Needham coming first. This voting by "tallies" was a plan adopted when constituencies were not so large as they are now. Electors still go to the tally-room to obtain their numbers on the register, and to indicate on which side their sympathies are; but they do not proceed to the polling place in squads of five as in old times.

The Seneschal declared that he would open the Court at nine o'clock each morning, and keep open till four in the evening, unless when the candidates consented to the contrary.

All preliminary arrangements having been completed, both parties agreed to adjourn for an hour, probably for dinner, as it was now past eleven o'clock, and they were early diners in those times. When the Court re-opened, the real business of the election began. It is clear each candidate knew the fight would be a severe one, and that to win every device must be used. Mr. Corry saw he had to fight a singular and formidable combination. General Needham, on the other hand, was in a district of which he knew nothing, and had to break down an old local influence of great strength.

The Poll Book apparently only gives the names of voters who tendered themselves in the Seneschal's own Court. This we gather from a comparison of the number recorded in it as being valid and the number on the gross poll declared at the close of the election.

One quaint circumstance is that, as the houses in the streets were not then numbered, the voter usually identified his by giving the names of his next-door neighbours.

Now all was ready, the Seneschal presiding in one Court, Mr. George Atkinson in the other. The Churchwardens were present with the books containing the Affidavits of Registry of qualification, sworn by the electors, the making of which was one condition of the franchise. Mr. Corry's principal agent appears to have been Mr. Jameson, and General Needham's were Mr. Bell and Mr. Ogle.

The first voter who presented himself was John Whaley of Ballinlare; he was met by 8 objections, made by Mr. Jameson on behalf of Mr. Corry -- 1st, that he had not been a resident for twelve months past; 2nd, that he had not registered his residence twelve months before the vacancy in the representation of the Borough; 3rd, that he was not a householder, but had been an inmate or lodger with some other person; 4th, that he had not paid the usual taxes and cesses in the Borough and was not liable for such taxes and cesses; 5th, that he had divided his house and outhouses so as to multiply votes; 6th, that his house with the office-houses and yard, but exclusive of land, was not worth £5 yearly rent; 7th, that being a Catholic, he was not duly qualified pursuant to the Statutes 13th. 14th, and 33rd George III.; 8th, that although he lived in the County Armagh part of Newry, he had registered in the County of Down. Overwhelmed by this avalanche of objections, Whaley was withdrawn till the following day, and does not appear again till the end of the election, and then apparently only to be rejected.

There was not at this time any Register of Electors as there is now; each man was liable to have his right to vote challenged by any other elector on all sorts of objections, both material and technical. At this election the right was most liberally availed of. There are 154 names of electors in the book, and as there is one duplicate these represent 153 persons. Of these only fourteen were allowed to vote without objection. The grounds of objection are always set out and sometimes at great length, the result being that the poll proceeded with surprising slowness -- at the close of the first day only five votes for each candidate had been recorded!

It is amusing to note that many persons of good position were deprived of their votes (which must have somewhat diminished their self-importance), and often for very trifling reasons. Mark Devlin, Castle Street, because being a Catholic he had not set forth his description in his certificate. Charles Henry Courtney, "Ballybought," because in his registry affidavit one of his neighbours was described as "widow" without giving her Christian name. James Bowden, also "Ballybought," because his registry certificate had been altered. Terence Fegan, Mill Street, because one witness to his registry affidavit had only subscribed the initial letter of his Christian name. Thomas Brady, Castle Street, and the Rev. Charles Campbell, High Street, for same reason. Richard Guy, "Ballybought," Isaac Glenny, Boat Street, and John Melling, "Low Ground," for verbal errors in their affidavits.

Matthew Russel, Sugar Island, and William Beath, Castle Street, the proposers respectively of the candidates, were both objected to. Mr. Beath, who has "Esq." affixed to his name, got through, but it seems Mr. Russel did not, although "rejected" is not written opposite his name. One objection to Mr. Beath was that his house was stated to be in Castle Street, and was in fact in Boat Street. James Reilly, Castle Street, Mr. Corry's seconder, was also rejected. Three Ogles -- Samuel, John and George -- consecutively presented themselves, but apparently only the first succeeded in running the gauntlet. Patrick O'Hanlon, Hill Street, is the only person in addition to Mr. Beath who had the affix "Esq.," which then meant a good deal more than it does now. Mr. O'Hanlon, one of the most prominent Catholics in the town, was met by several objections, and as he would not produce his certificate his vote was rejected.

In those days an elector had to go through a great deal of swearing before he was allowed to vote. After six months' occupation of his house, he could at the Quarter Sessions swear to an affidavit of registry, giving his qualification. This he had to sign in presence of two witnesses. Any slight informality in the affidavit nullified the registry. Even then he could not vote till the expiration of twelve months from the registry. At the election too, he had, if required, to take the elector's oath, and might be also compelled to take the bribery oath. If a Catholic, he had in addition to take two oaths, one of allegiance and one of abjuration, either at one of the Courts in Dublin before a Judge of Assize, or at the General Sessions. He had to obtain a certificate of these oaths and produce it at the election.

It will thus be seen that the elector had (and more especially if he were a Catholic) to go through an elaborate procedure before he could exercise the franchise, and that these preliminaries created great opportunity for the exercise of dilatory tactics, and in many cases for defeating the franchise altogether. All these were taken full advantage of at the election of 1806. The majority of successful objections were technical. Very few were of a substantial character, and when so they do not seem to have been regarded. Several were charged with having been bribed. Others that they had not entire houses, or that their houses were not worth £5 yearly.

The vote was in one case rejected because the elector stated that his neighbour was "Mabel" O'Hanlon, whilst in his affidavit she was called "Mave."

It is recorded in a note at the end of the poll book, signed apparently by General Needham's agents, that "on the second day of the polling, the opening of the Court was delayed for forty-one minutes on account of the absence of Mr. Bryans, one of the Churchwardens." At the end of this day General Needham's total stood at 18, and Mr. Corry's at 15. At the end of the third day Needham had 46, Corry 39. Fourth day Needham 68, and Corry 57. The fifth day's work saw General Needham's poll 75, and Mr. Corry's 63. Then came Saturday, the 15th November, which was to settle this remarkable election. Mr. Corry had evidently exhausted all his available force, for on this day he did not poll any votes whatever, and he saw with poignant feelings that his long Parliamentary connection with his native town was about to terminate.

The Poll Book records the close of the election as follows -- "First proclamation made 18 minutes before 12 o'clock, requiring all persons claiming a right to poll at this election to come forward and offer themselves. Second proclamation made at 18 minutes after 12 o'clock. Third proclamation 20 minutes before one o'clock. The Seneschal declared after totting up that the Honourable Lieut-General Needham was duly elected, the numbers being as follows -- Needham 85, Corry 63."

So by less than one hundred and fifty votes was this important election decided. (It is curious that in some of the earlier elections in which the Catholics could not vote, almost four times as many electors voted as at this election, at which they could vote. This must have been caused by the introduction of the statutory preliminaries, which were only made a condition in 1795.)

Mr. Corry's friends seem to have been astonished at the result of the election. As they knew the strength of the forces arrayed against him, they must indeed have rated his influence highly. Even in his defeat they showed their devotion to him. They entertained him at a banquet, and presented an address which certainly has a very genuine ring. Some extracts will throw a vivid light on the result : It refers to "the unexpected event of your failing to become for the eighth time our representative in Parliament, the depriving many of us of our rights as electors under pretences which we consider to be frivolous and unjust." It then significantly goes on, "We lament that you, our countryman, our townsman, and our friend, should have been deserted by some for the paltry consideration of temporary advantage or the private gratification of ill-founded resentment. We regret that your spirited exertions and important services during the troubles of the year 1798, though marked by humanity and forbearance, should have produced the event which we now lament" (Mr. Corry's failure to exert his influence on behalf of a number of his supporters who got entangled in the troubles of 1798s is here referred to.) It speaks of Mr. Corry as "the friend of 30 years in which you represented us," and with charming naivete it says, "In several official situations, terminating in the high and honourable situation of Chancellor of the Exchequer, we have experienced uniform attentions as well to our individual as to our public interests,"

Materials are not available to enable us to learn what reply Mr. Corry gave to his faithful friends whilst he still felt keenly the sting of his defeat

The opposition to Mr. Corry was, on public grounds alone, quite justified, apart from the personal considerations which may have entered into the minds of some; but the effect of the result was most regrettable. A predominant territorial influence was created, quite different in its characteristics from the influence which had been held by Mr. Corry. All free political life seemed to be almost extinguished in the borough for nearly half a century. Out of fourteen consecutive elections, at no less than ten there were returned members or relatives of the Kilmorey family, in seven cases without opposition. Even when the great Curran came to inspire the spirit of freedom into the constituency, he came in vain. In only one instance during this period was there a successful assertion of independence.

The influence which produced this state of affairs does not now prevail; but the influence was great, the state of affairs was long continued. Therefore, not only in its own circumstances, but still more from its ultimate results, the contest of 1806, between Mr. Corry and General Needham, may well be considered a Notable Newry Election.

[We regret that exigencies of space render it necessary to omit part of above article. The writer, therefore, is not entirely responsible for it in its present form.]

This article was originally published in "The Open Window Illustrated - Literary Annual and Year Book of Local Annals" in 1900 which was centred on the Newry area. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Age Limit for Women - No one over 35 need apply.

EVERY reader of the educational journals must be familiar with the typical advertisement that "The Council of the ----- High School for Girls will shortly appoint a headmistress. No one over 35 need apply."

It may be useful to consider the origin of this "formalized rule" that women are unfit to undertake such responsibility after the age thirty-five. The rule -- an advance, no doubt, on the eighteenth-century habit of referring to men and women of forty as "aged' -- became stereotyped as early as the middle of this century. Unmarried ladies, regarded as on the shelf at twenty-five, were forced to let their faculties die away for want of exercise. The freshness was drained out of them by the pressure of trivialities, unresisted by hope. Those who entered the labour market did so as victims of cruel misfortune, full of pity for themselves, and quickly worn out by their struggles to gain a livelihood with few qualifications for the task.

During the last twenty years a striking change has made itself apparent. In some branches the extension of the working period of a woman's life has been so great that it has even brought back to useful, hopeful enterprise women who have settled down to the colourless, dreary, monotonous round prescribed for the unattached elderly. The number of educated women who either earn a livelihood or engage in philanthropic work has not increased so much as is usually supposed, but the spirit in which the work is undertaken is wholly different. The period of youthful interestedness has been very greatly extended.

In fiction our women writers have long since abandoned sweet seventeen as a heroine; and even men writers -- slowest of all to observe such changes -- have, during the last five years or so, recognized that at that favoured age girls are nowadays too much absorbed in preparing for senior locals and college examinations to offer useful material for romantic literature.

Not a few of our veterans shake their heads over what I call the extension of usefulness, but what they call the prolongation of childish irresponsibility. The crudeness of the girl graduate of two or three and twenty is contrasted unfavourably with the finished manners and graceful maturity of the girl of eighteen some forty years ago. And there would be much to be urged in support of their disapproval, if, with the raising of the age limit of a girl's systematized education, there were no corresponding rise in the age limit of their usefulness and energy. If the prime of life were necessarily passed at an age fixed for all time, so that the time spent in preparation for work was deducted from the time available for work itself, it might fairly be doubted whether our modern system of education was not positively harmful.

But there is no such fixity in the age at which maturity is attained; and there is reason to believe that, as each generation takes longer to arrive at maturity, owing to much more careful attention to mental and physical development, so also each generation retains the possession of its mature powers for a longer period than the preceding one.

The brain which has not been trained in mental gymnastics in early youth, unless unusually active, loses its powers. Narrow-mindedness is a correct name for a psychological fact. That there were broad and vigorous-minded women at this period who probably owed much to their teachers there is no doubt. But, for the most part, these were women who by their social position came in contact with able men, and saw life from many points of view. The easy access to personal acquaintance with leaders of thought, statesmen, practical workers, and cultured and refined women gives to the aristocracy and the upper middle classes an education and training which never ceases, and which makes a university training an amusing episode rather than a necessity.

In the middle classes the circumstances and duties of a woman's life are entirely different. After marriage a limited income and maternal and domestic duties limit a woman's social education; and, if her mental powers have not been fully developed, it is difficult for her to resist the tendency to become absorbed in her purely personal worries and cares. Brain atrophy sets in, and with it old age, the closing up of the mental avenues to new impressions and feelings.

Thus any child at a Board School can be taught arithmetic; and most children at a high school can make progress in geometry and algebra. But even capable middle-class women, who begin these subjects for the first time in early life, are frequently found to be mentally incapable of the reasoning processes involved.

In one hundred years the age of childish responsibility has been raised from six to about twelve and, in the extra six years thus granted, imagination and individuality have been left free to develop themselves. During the last twenty years another change has taken place. The duties of the young person have altered. Formerly, at the age of eighteen, in the young person's fiction, she was expected to relieve her invalid mother of house-hold cares, and brighten her aged father's declining years. But mothers in 1899 refuse to become decrepit and take to the sofa, merely because their daughters are grown up, and fathers only require to be amused occasionally in the evening. The new mother may be considerably over thirty-five, bordering on fifty, perhaps; but she neither feels aged nor looks it, and is rather inclined to look beyond her home for full scope for her powers, when thus set free from maternal cares. And, given intelligence, length of years guarantees experience.

One of the tortures of the Inquisition was to place the victim in a room, the walls of which grew nearer to each other every day, until at last they closed in on him and crushed him to death. In the same way, intelligent life gradually grows fainter and fainter as the brain decays for want of exercise. A daily mental constitutional is necessary to prevent the accumulation of what W. K. Clifford called, mental fat. Mental gymnastics are needed to prevent stiffening of the brain. When not only our habits but our ideas have become fixed, then we have grown old. An octogenarian maybe young if he has preserved the faculty of modifying his conceptions in correspondence with new evidence.

Mental activity, provided there is no overstrain of the nerve, gives freshness and interest to life; and to be fresh and interested is to be young. It is because girls have been taught to use their brains, and women have been encouraged to keep them in repair, that this old stereotyped conception of the necessary failure of power after thirty-five years of age has become absurd. At what age the value of a woman's increased experience is counterbalanced by diminished physical power I do not pretend to judge. Women differ, and their social opportunities differ. I merely transpose my text, and say, "Do not let your intellect lazily decline upon generalizations, formalized rules, and laws of nature; but, rather, let it remain braced and keen, to watch the world accurately, and take every appearance on its own merits." -- Clara E. Collet, in The Contemporary Review.

This article was originally published in "The Open Window Illustrated - Literary Annual and Year Book of Local Annals" in 1900 which was centred on the Newry area. 


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Topics Current of the Year (1900 that is...)

Brevities on passing Events, complied by Julian.

IT seems hardly credible that discussions should rage as to whether we were nearing the close or at the beginning of a century on January 1st, 1900. But it is even so, and the controversy was largely international. The Kaiser, erratic as ever, decided in favour of 1900 as the starting point for the new century, and the Tsar it is alleged followed suit. It has, however, been otherwise officially settled (and by those more capable than the Kaiser, we suspect) that the 20th century will begin on the 1st January, 1901,

The Past 100 Years.

WITHIN sight of the last day of a century that has wrought more changes in the distribution and organization of human society than all the centuries before! It is something to have lived in and to be of it. A century charged with new ideas, with expansion, with knowledge. New thoughts concerning human perfectibility and progress have come from it. Resources have been put at the command of human beings of which they had no conception, and now
"The age-end merges into years august,
The yearning world swings starward from the dust,
While weaklings talk of twilight, nor can see
The broadening of the dawn that is to be."

The good is coming, but it comes slowly and with many a set-back and disappointment It is well at the close of the century to keep bright hopes and great ends steadily in view, even while in the midst of remorse and contrition for the follies which have delayed the coming of the kingdom of peace.

A wonderful century -- wonderful for good, notwithstanding the inevitable evils in its course. Its last year has been heavily shadowed. Storm-breeding clouds are abroad. Every country has its own perplexities. Urgent unsettled and unsettling problems in our own, the unlooked-for humiliation of Britain and the consequent revelation of the envy and hate of every Continental power, the growing complexity of the Imperial and Colonial systems, the discontent in France, the internal throes of the German Empire, the insecurity of the Italian Monarchy, the combustible elements in Russia which only wait an explosive spark, the blood-bedraggled Chinese question! Every nation is, in fact, on its trial in this closing year of the nineteenth century, and what is done now will fix the course of many a year into the new one.

Let us trust that long ere the closing years of the opening century have been reached, the dreams of philanthropists and the visions of prophets will be realized, and that the reign of universal liberty, universal justice, and universal peace may have dawned.

Death of the Rev. Dr. Martineau.

THE most eminent Unitarian of Great Britain or America, and one of the most accomplished philosophical scholars in the world, a theologian unsurpassed in ability, the death of James Martineau, LL.D., D.D., Lit.D., at London, January 12th, 1900, removed one of the most dignified figures of the century. He maintained an extraordinary vigour and vivacity of mind and body up to his last year, which was his 95th. Dr. Martineau is better known among the intellectuals than among the multitude, but there are few readers to whom his name is not familiar, for his thought was so majestic that, like the sacred mountain of Japan, it was always in sight from the plains around.

At one time minister of a Unitarian Church in Dublin, afterwards of Liverpool and London churches, and for 60 years associated with Manchester New College, Oxford, his statue, recently placed in the Library of that College, will remind generations to come of one who for conscience sake maintained the doctrines and principles of the Unitarian Church to his own great loss and disadvantages, for it has been said, more than once, that Dr. Martineau might have been Archbishop of Canterbury.

Death of John Ruskin.

RUSKIN was unique. No man ever used his gifts and opportunities after the manner that has made him famous. A rich man, he cared nothing for wealth. A saint, he was the critic of the Church. An ascetic, he was in love with the beauty of nature and art. A favourite of Society, he did not value its distinctions. Loving a woman to idolatry, he did not know and could not learn the simplest laws of domestic life. A devoted student of science, he resisted the changes wrought by the application of science to the common affairs of men. He was a man unlike all others, antagonistic to most of his fellows, and yet was the one who, more than any other writer and thinker, was able in art and in literature to make the highest ideals of personal conduct and social organization and the noblest ends of action seem real, practicable and attainable.

He wrote in a style of which he alone was master. He made Turner famous. He was the chief interpreter of Venetian art and the first authority on Gothic architecture. He was the apostle of Pre-Raphaelism, and, whether as speaker to working-men or lecturer on art at Oxford, brought more sweetness and light into the common life of England than any other lover of art in his time.

Two quixotic transactions will illustrate Ruskin's unique temperament. He gave away his wife, and he gave away his fortune. He married a beautiful woman, alive to all the gladness of youth and the romance of marriage, thinking she would be content to be enshrined among his chief treasures and worshipped as a goddess too sweet and good for human nature's daily food. But alas! she was only a woman, and when Millais was summoned by Ruskin to paint her portrait, all three of them quickly discovered the mistake that had been made, for she and Millais fell in love with each other. Ruskin quietly obtained a legal separation, allowed her to marry his friend, and was thenceforth a broken-hearted old man. Giving his great fortune away cost him no pang. It was even a joy to him. He said a pound a day was sufficient for any English gentleman, and he gave away all but this. He started schemes for improving the condition of the poor; he founded a museum for them, a guild for working people, and a society to beautify the waste places of England. His was indeed a master among master minds of the 19th century.

Death of Lord Russell of Killowen.

THE death of Lord Russell -- Lord Chief Justice of England -- removes from the public service of Great Britain one of its greatest men, deprives the world of one of the most interesting figures of the century, and Ireland of distinguished sons.

The public intimation of Lord Russell's illness was not accompanied by any note of danger, so that no one imagined he was lying close to the door of death, and as a consequence the intelligence came with startling suddenness, and in Newry, where his career was watched with particularly keen interest, -- since he was one among our many distinguished Newrymen -- the news was heard with universal and profound sorrow. It has already been proposed that a monument of some kind be erected to his memory in this district, and we trust that some fitting national (to be fitting it must be national in the broadest sense) memorial may be successfully carried through.

Numerous discriminating accounts of his wonderful career have appeared, the unanimous verdict being that all the honours and distinctions he won were well merited. As Advocate, Attorney-General, Lord of Appeal, and Lord Chief Justice he was incorruptible, faithful, impartial and just, while in private intercourse he seems to have been one of the lucky mortals who are born with a wealth of perpetual June weather in their souls.

The photograph which we give of him, we may say, is from a photo, received from Lord Russell himself, and is one which he considered very good; and perhaps we may be pardoned for adding that more than once his Lordship expressed his appreciative interest in THE OPEN WINDOW.

Of his personal history we give the following outline condensed from a full notice which, appeared in The Christian World:--

"The very sudden death, after an operation, for appendicitis, of Lord Russell of Killowen caused a shock to the legal profession and raised a feeling of sympathetic regret throughout the British Empire. For, in spite of his stern, uncompromising attitude towards offenders of all sorts, the late 'Lord Chief' was a favourite with the English people. In the first place, he was a man who had risen by his own industry and indomitable will, which is a passport to the respect of the multitude; then it was felt that he was a tower of strength at the Bar and on the Bench in defence of justice and right -- witness his magnificent defence of the late Mr. Parnell and his co-defendants before the Parnell Commission, when all the influence of The Times and the Tory party were arrayed against him; lastly, he had the genial temperament which so many Irishmen possess, and which carries with it the faculty of making friends and disarming would-be enemies.

"Lord Russell was a Roman Catholic, and was for that reason shut out from the highest prize of the legal profession, the Lord Chancellorship. Yet he rose as high as he could, for he was the first Irishman, as well as the first Roman Catholic since the Reformation, to hold the premier place on the Common Law Bench. This he attained in 1894, when Lord Coleridge, the 'silver-tongued,' died, but shortly before that he had been promoted to a seat on the judicial bench as a Lord of Appeal. The dates are: Birth in 1832, at Newry; call to the Bar in 1859, after a brief career as a solicitor; Q.C. in 1872, and a seat in Parliament in 1880 for Dundalk; Attorney-General in 1886, with a knighthood; Lord of Appeal in 1894, and Lord Chief Justice in the same year. In politics Lord Russell was a Liberal and a Home Ruler, and owed his appointment as Attorney-General to Mr. Gladstone. He refused, however, to join the Irish Nationalists, and sat for an English constituency (South Hackney) from 1885 to 1894. Twice Lord Russell was engaged in International arbitration matters -- once as counsel for the British Government before the Behring Sea Commission, and once as British Arbitrator in the Venezuela Boundary case. The title of Killowen has puzzled many who have visited that Irish village in the expectation of finding a family seat of the Russells. There is no such seat, the title being adopted in recognition of the pleasant memories of his childhood, much of which he spent in that neighbourhood. His home was at Tadworth Court, near the Downs at Epsom. Among the stories most often repeated about Lord Russell is the one respecting the meeting of three young briefless barristers in an hotel in the North of England in 1865, when two of them, who afterwards became Lord Herschell and the present Speaker of the House of Commons, were so despondent about their prospects as seriously to discuss the advisability of emigrating. It was Charles Russell who counselled patience. The list of celebrated causes in which he appeared include the great baccarat case, Miss Fortescue's action for breach of promise against Lord Garmoyle, and Mrs. Maybrick's case. In the last he was counsel for the accused, and has never ceased, it is said, to use his influence for a more merciful treatment of that unfortunate prisoner, in whose innocence he seems to have believed. In his arduous labours, Lord Russell received immense assistance from his wife's business capacity, as she relieved him of many of the duties which usually fall upon the male head of the household, Lady Russell survives to mourn his loss, and so do five sons and four daughters. Two of the sons are barristers, one is a stockbroker, and one is a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery now serving in South Africa. The peerage granted to Lord Russell in 1894 dies with him, being a life peerage."

The funeral service was held at Brompton Oratory on the 13th August, and was conducted by his brother, Rev. Matthew Russell, S.J. Many distinguished people were present, and the Prince of Wales sent a wreath. The interment took place the next day at Epsom.

The Wearin' of the Green.

ST. Patrick's Day, 1900, in Ireland will be memorable. When the story of this century comes to be written, there will be no more thrilling chapter than this year's, recording as it must our Irish soldiers' heroism, their indomitable endurance and splendid gallantry, and their Sovereign's graceful recognition of it. Well worthy are they to wear the emblem of their native country, and well it was to rescue it from the fate of being degraded to a party-emblem level. Principle was born before partizanship; let us then follow the first-born. The shamrock belongs to the Irish, not to any particular party or sect in Ireland, and this will be recognised more fully than ever in the future: --
"We're one at heart if you be Ireland's friend,
Though leagues asunder our opinions tend."

A Suggestion. Great Britain's Daughters. An Imperial Emblem.

OUR Colonists have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of an expansive loyalty which puts Queen and home first, policy and party second, hence the spontaneous enthusiasm and loyalty to flag which carried all peoples and parties before it, irrespective or political, sentimental or sectarian differences, -- differences too that neither reasoning nor good nature can set aside, -- when danger threatened the original source of being, illustrating once again that race tendencies are stronger than external party bias.

What more fitting than that an emblem common to all our countries (Colonies and possessions) should be chosen, to be worn in future years to celebrate, not the winning of inglorious battles, but to commemorate the cementing of the ties which bind the daughter-countries to the mother-country.

We suggest a day of Imperial commemoration, and the wearing of some Imperial emblem to the memory of those who fearlessly met death
"In the cyclone of war,"
and worse than death
"In the battle's eclipse" -- 

one day upon which all persons throughout the Empire can sink for the time party jealousies, and unite in a universal celebration of national and noble heroism.

The War.

A YEAR ago, a great hurrah went up for War! The hurrah is over! Patience is now in order. The theatrical pantomime and the music-hall tableaux representing easy victory no longer excite hysterical applause. The gaiety of war has passed. Its holiday aspect has vanished. We have lost precious lives, and tears are flowing. Hundreds and thousands of blighted homes, of widowed and fatherless, of broken-hearted parents, hundreds and thousands of maimed and wounded, hundreds and thousands of suffering and agonized human beings and tortured animals! That is what war means. Let us not forget in dreams of conquest and Empire to count the cost.

The military spirit blazed out fiercely -- even in Fashion's domain, in costume, stationery and ornament. Believing that practically Britain would have a "walk over," a merely picnicing campaign of a few weeks, the country lightly entered into war, without realizing its dread responsibility or even dreaming of the possibility of an awful awakening, and perhaps among all the surprises which were in store for "G.B." none was greater than to find that Kruger would fight. The universal idea was that we were challenged by foemen unworthy our serious consideration. A set of farmers, herds and huntsmen. They were insane, of course, and Goliath-like we would annihilate them at one blow. The sorrowful fortunes of our brave fellows and all the melancholy details of disaster, soon took the edge off the fighting on our side, and one of the most bitter awakenings of the war lies in the miscalculation and mismanagement which seems to have characterized the whole campaign. In every department the same unsatisfactory conditions have prevailed, and the outspoken criticism of Press and public on the blunderings have been general and severe.

Had it not been for General Roberts, who, with a heart still heavy over his son's newly made grave, full of years and honours, responded so nobly to the call of country and Queen, it may be doubted if Great Britain would have so, bravely faced the results of, or recovered from the effects of, so great a humiliation. He it was who, when all Europe stood ready to hiss, and the Continental Press conducted a campaign of unexampled taunt and bitterness, proceeded to repair the British reverses, with an army which betrayed never a tremor of vacillation nor a particle of panic. The Empire, unflinchingly as ever, has proved -- and that in front of uncalculated and undreamed of, although merited, defeats -- that its stalwart qualities remain unimpaired. The difficulty arose from the unsuspected fact that Britain faced a foe as brave, as courageous, as full of resolution and masterful ability as herself.

The war has opened to our admiration, and sealed in noble deaths, deeds of daring and memorable self-sacrifice. Even those who, like ourselves, were not enthusiastic over the war, and who honestly believe that nothing was involved which arbitration could not have settled, cannot resist a thrill of national pride, evoked by the heroism displayed, and although the reverses were such as to bring a silence over the blatant and spurious patriotism of the war blusterers, it is a record to be proud of.
"Still with each day's new birth
     Great deeds are dawning,
Still in the silent earth
     New graves are yawning;
So at the season's call,
     Our tribute giving,
Think we of heroes all,
     Sleeping or living."

Many searchlights will be turned on the public-service offices when the lull comes in and the nation has time to investigate certain issues of the war. If out of the delirium and excitement of this war comes a consistent demand that in future "politics" shall be banished from matters involving the control of our Army and Navy; if the conviction that the Nation's Officialdom must always be administered for the benefit of the people and never for the benefit of the office-holder and his friends; if the carelessness of the persons who robbed our brave soldiers and volunteers of the food and aid and care which was paid for -- but not provided; if War Office scandals are traced and punished, -- if in effect this war teaches us to thwart corruption and to purify our public service, to check the destructive ambition of unscrupulous Ministers, and to denounce as a traitor to cause and country any Englishman, be he high or low, who dares publicly to debase his country's flag to a merely selfish article of commerce, and endeavours to make it out the El Dorado of the Stock Exchange, by such a declaration as "Her Majesty's flag is the world's greatest commercial asset," -- if these things be the outcome, then indeed will good have come out of evil.

The Indian Famine.

THE famine in India is so horrible that the thought of it reduces the pleasure of living. It does not lift the burden for us to remember that famines have occurred in that country with dreadful regularity during the past ages. A few years since it was hoped that pestilence and famine had been brought under the control of science and political economy. Now we are living with the daily consciousness that many millions of our fellow-creatures suffer the pangs of hunger, and that millions have died of starvation. The blame is being distributed among many, with a large margin left to be accounted for by a drought for which at present no one can suggest a remedy. Our Government in India might have done more to provide the water upon which the crops depend. The native princes seem to be hardened by tradition and habit; and those who live close to the soil are too short-sighted and helpless to foresee the evil and avoid it. Meanwhile the awful drought went on, the parched soil yielded no fruit, drinking-water dried up, and millions of lives shrivelled in the fierce heat and perished. At the same time in Africa, in drought and heat and dust-storm, the money that might have gone to the relief of India was used to destroy, in the widespread desolation of war, other lives still more valuable. Yet both war and famine are surely among the preventable evils with which modern society can successfully deal, and with which it will deal in the near future.


A SHUDDER ran through the civilized world at the shocking massacres of Europeans in China. For parallel to these revolting atrocities we must go far back into the pagan days of human passions and brutalities. The fearful events have been a violent shock, and even yet the nerves of the nations are strained to the sharpest tension. No excuse can be offered for the perpetrators of the crimes except that of hellish impulses, which -- engendered by foreign usurpation -- have broken loose among the "Boxer's," a Chinese organization of fanatics. The anti-foreign movement in China has reached such startling proportions that it is a menace to the whole of Europe, The awful possibilities of the semi-feudal organizations of the Chinese Empire are only now confronting those Powers who have hitherto pursued a course of steady aggression into China. This policy of "grab" has stung the Chinese to madness. Germany, England, Russia, France and Japan have each and all followed what is known as the "dismemberment of China Policy," and it is almost certain that had not a check on the parcelling out of the Empire come from China herself, the European symphony of spoliation in the extreme East would soon have degenerated to a discord which would have inevitably led to the clash of arms among the rival powers themselves.

The Opium traffic in China is a long-standing disgrace to Great Britain -- the war by which the degrading drug was forced on the Chinese people at the point of the sword is one of the foulest blots on England's escutcheon. To-day we are reaping the fruits of the seed then sown. We send Bibles to China by one vessel and Opium by another! and not a few have declared that England should apply her missionary efforts at the other end, for surely if recent events in China hold any lesson, it is for those in our country who so shamelessly abused the power which might (and might only) placed in their hands.

Many have wondered why China should form so engrossing a subject for European Chancelleries, but when the extraordinary, the unlimited resources -- mineral, metal and vegetable -- of the territory of China, resources which only await the hand of enterprise and engineering skill to develop, are considered, the anxieties and jealousies of the rival powers are no longer a riddle. The Chinese territory is an element of the gravest importance in civilization.

"The northern provinces of China alone contain deposits of coal that could keep the markets of the world overstocked for hundreds of years. Labour is plentiful, and would consider itself amply compensated at rates that appear ridiculously low to Western eyes. Given brain and capital, the Pei-ho and Hoang-ho Rivers could be turned into great roadways of commerce, carrying down to the sea a practically limitless supply of fuel, to be transported to the centres of Europe.

"China holds the same undoubted preeminence in other articles of supply. The quantity of labour alone that the vast population of China offers to the exploitation of the intelligent foreigner is enough in itself to subvert all existing economic theories, and to place the world in a chaos of disorganization for the time being. When the Europeans shall have completed the process of partition, and infused their own average methods into the enormous festering mass, the world will have to deal ab origine with many problems that are now presumed to be approaching a satisfactory solution, and perhaps with many others that have not yet arisen."

One Injustice Removed.

"MOST adroitly the Queen continued the series of graceful acts which she began in the allowing the wearing by the soldiers of the national emblem. To recompense the valour or her brave Irish regiments she has created a new corps of Guards -- a regiment of Irish Guards. In the country which calls itself United the absence of this name and thing was an anomaly, especially when we consider the proportion of the Irish element in the army."

The Irish Language Movement.

THE revival of our national tongue is a noble impulse and highly to be commended as a patriotic movement. When, however, the Great English Speaking Confederacy is founded, the Irish population of the world will be in it. Let them count on that, and prepare to be proud of it.

This article was originally published in "The Open Window Illustrated - Literary Annual and Year Book of Local Annals" in 1900 which was centred on the Newry area. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Queen's Visit to Ireland (Victoria that is...)

The Spirit of the Nation.

Contempt on the minion who calls you disloyal,
Though fierce to your foes, to your friends you are true,
And the tribute most high to a head that is royal,
Is love for a heart that loves liberty too. 

THE unexpected happened once more when it was announced that the Queen was coming to Ireland. The progress of events in the closing year of the nineteenth century has been remarkable, and for our country perhaps the most striking feature of it is Her Majesty's visit and the consequent revelation that there exists here undiminished loyalty and a healthy public opinion, which lives and has its being among all sects and classes, in spite of and independent of Party or Politics, Loyalty to Queen antipathy to British government, and a longing for Home Rule, can and do exist together, and this loyalty is just one of those things of which more might have been made.

Ireland greeted with a spontaneous enthusiasm and loyalty the aged Queen-Empress, who, accompanied by H.R.H. Princess Christian, H.R.H. Princess Battenberg and family, landed at Kingstown from the Royal Yacht, and entered the Capital on the 4th of April last.

Thousands poured into Dublin "to see the Queen," and as usual the Queen brought "Queen's weather" with her. The sun uncovered his face and shone brightly on waving plumes and burnished accoutrements, and on the crowds, who, elated by demonstrative enthusiasm, were eager to catch a glimpse of, and to offer their warmest Cead Mille Failthe to the wonderful old lady who stands for so much that is noble and humane in the spirit of the age. In 1837 O'Connell declared that a hundred thousand Irishmen were ready to defend the Girl-Queen; this visit has proved that the Liberator's sentiment has not -- even after sixty-three years, forty of which spelled absence -- abated in health or strength one jot.

No political significance attaches to the person of the Sovereign, and no such bearing was read into the visit. Her Majesty's welcome was therefore a truly national one, and one which for affectionate homage and loyalty could not have been excelled in any Tory stronghold. Her progress through the city was one triumphant pageant, and the decorated highways, and illuminated streets -- which eclipsed the Golden Jubilee decorations of London in 1897 -- fitly interpreted the spirit of our nation. Doubts indeed were expressed as to the reception likely to be accorded to Her Majesty, but no one who judges the Celtic spirit impartially could have really feared that Queen Victoria on the occasion of her coming would be received by the Irish race with anything but the gallantry and chivalry due to a gracious woman, and the loyalty a good Queen has a right to expect. Political and Party feelings may run higher in Ireland than elsewhere, but this does not affect our just appreciation of the Queen, who dwells far above the plane of political intrigues and prejudices.

Her Majesty's previous visits to Ireland only number three. The first in 1849, when she came as a happy wife with three little children. The Royal party touched at the Cove of Cork -- since known as Queenstown -- thence voyaged to Kingstown, and on the 6th of August entered Dublin.* Of this visit we are enabled through the courtesy of the proprietors of The Lady's Pictorial to present the readers of The Open Window with two souvenirs, one a portrait of the departure from Kingstown, and the other a unique reproduction of the signatures of the Queen and the Prince Consort, as they appear in the historic "Book of Kells" (St. Columbus' Book).

Four years later (August 29th, 1853) the visit was repeated, in order to be present at the great Irish Exhibition; and again in 1861 (August 21st) -- just before the Prince Consort contracted his fatal illness -- she honoured our country with her presence, making a tour of the Lakes of Killarney and inspecting the Curragh Camp.

An Historic Year

The visit in 1900, however, is the most memorable, and furnishes the historical annals of Ireland with certain events which will illumine its political history in the coming century. In itself it is memorable enough (Royal visits to our island are few and far between, and forty years' absence makes presence noteworthy), but there were certain "breaks" in Court traditions, inaugurated by the Queen herself during it, which render it remarkable in a striking degree. It was, for instance, the Queen's pleasure to have, for the first time in Irish history, a Roman Cardinal at the same table with an English Sovereign. Her Majesty invited Cardinal Logue to dine with her, and it is worth recording that he was described in the Court Circular as “Archbishop of Armagh," without any such modifying epithet as "Roman Catholic" or "titular." Jesuit Schools (which are "illegal" institutions by Statute) were visited in person and favoured with Royal compliments; so, too, the Vincentians and the Carmelites, the Sisters of Mercy and of Charity, received Royal attention. This is the first time since the Revolution that Religious Orders have been marked out for Royal recognition and approval, and thus brought into direct relations with the Throne.

Then the scene during the presentation of the keys of the Ancient City of Dublin: to Her Majesty, was one unexampled in Irish history, and the enactment of the ancient custom was carried out with a magnificence and realism which will form an interesting chapter in future histories of our times. Altogether this visit to Ireland deserves to be numbered among the remarkable achievements of the Queen. As a merely physical feat, at her great age, it is remarkable, and rendered more so by the amount of energy and almost youthful enthusiasm displayed in carrying through her exacting programme of parties and functions. Personally the Queen looked well. Her Majesty's milliner had been more successful than usual, and the suggestive shamrocks gave the coup de grace to a beautiful toilette. Although looking her age, her face was full of pleasure and happiness -- in recognition, doubtless, of the sincerely affectionate greeting of her Irish subjects.

The whole visit seemed to have been planned with consummate tact, in order to mark the Queen's desire, in the closing years of her long and inspiring life, to see the obliteration of the misunderstandings between the Irish and English nations and between the "divided Irish" themselves.

Let us close our notice of the historic event, by expressing the hope that ere long the Queen will

"Come back to Erin,"

confident that neither Saxon nor Scottish hearts have ever joined more fervently than Celtic ones in the familiar strains of the National Anthem: -- "God Save the Queen."

This article was originally published in "The Open Window Illustrated - Literary Annual and Year Book of Local Annals" in 1900 which was centred on the Newry area.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

History of Lisburn (pt7)


-- -- -- --
 Edited by JAMES CARSON.
-- -- -- --


-- -- -- --




On January 16, 1899, under the County Councils Act, a new election of Commissioners took place, under the name of Urban Councillors. The gentlemen elected were:-- George H. Clarke. J.P.; John Ritchie, James E. Pelan, G. B. Wilkins, George Wilson, William Davis, Dr. St. George, John Morgan, James E. Sloan, Robert Rice, Robert Garrett, William Todd, Joseph M'Connell, James M'Keown and William Savage, J.P.

Urban Councillors in 1906:-- Alex. Patterson, Dr. St.George, James E. Sloan, Wm. Davis, Robert Pedlow, G. B. Wilkins, H. A. M. Barbour, James E. Pelan, G. H. Clarke, J.P.; Robert Griffith, W. J. M'Murray, Thomas Oliver, George Wilson, John G. Ferguson, James A. Hanna chairman.

Mr. G. B. Wilkins; Solicitor to the Board, Mr. Wellington Young; Town Clerk, Mr. Thomas M. Wilson, son of the late Mr. James Wilson, who held this position for some years prior to Mr. T. M. Wilson.

The sanitary officer in 1906, Dr. James G. Jefferson, and town surveyor. Mr. James Johnston. All the markets are most commodious, well-kept and well managed by the markets superintendent, Mr. Robert M'Creight, who is also school attendance inspector for the schools in the urban district, as well as being rate collector for the town.

The Handsome Courthouse

built by the generosity of Sir Richard Wallace, Bart, in the year 1883, at a cost of about £4,000, forms a most attractive sight on arrival in the town, and is the first object which meets the eye of visitors coming from the railway station. The facade has beautiful Corinthian pillars, and bears the Royal Arms on the pediment, while the Wallace Arms decorate the eastern end. About 1903 this, along with other buildings, was acquired by the Urban District Council from Sir John Murray Scott, Bart, the successor in title, and is now carefully attended to by the present owners.

Courts of quarter sessions and petty sessions are regularly held, also courts for the disposal of offenders against the towns improvement act.

The Magistrates for the district, some of whom usually preside at the petty sessions court and town court in 1906 were Thomas R. Stannus, Magheraleave; Thos. Dunlop Gibson, R.M., Portadown; J. Theodore Richardson, Lissue; James Crossin, Wellington Villas; George H. Clarke, Roseville; John Rogers, Eden-a-Grena, Belfast; E. J. Charley, Seymour Hill; Felix O'Hagan, Belfast; Hugh Mack, Dalboyne; William Savage, Maryville; M. B. Mackenzie, M.D., Seymour Street; W. R. M'Call, Whiteabbey; F. W. Capron, London; John Laird, Gobrana, Glenavy; Sir J. Murray Scott, Bart., London; W. H. H. Lyons, Sydenham; Charles Richardson, Newtownbreda; James M'Connell, Stranmillis, Belfast; John Dornan, Belfast.

Prior to the building of the present Courthouse the Petty Sessions for the district were held for a number of years in the Assembly Rooms after the old Courthouse in Castle Street had been pulled down, to make room for the Estate Office, now used as Urban District Council Offices. The clerk of Petty Sessions is Thomas J. English, who has held the position since April, 1882. The first Petty Sessions Court was held in the new Courthouse in April, 1884.

The present commodious and substantial Post Office in Railway Street was erected by the Government in 1896. In 1796 the postage from Dublin to Lisburn or Belfast was 5d., and in 1834 it appears to have risen to 9d.

The first mail coach commenced to ran from Dublin to Belfast and Cork in 1790. The introduction of mail coaches at that time not only greatly improved the system of the post office, but was attended with the greatest advantages to the general interests of Ireland. Previous to their introduction the state of the roads was such that it commonly took five to six days to perform the journey from Dublin to Lisburn, when the fare was 36s 3d inside, and half that sum outside.

Lisburn being situated on the direct route between the two principal cities of Ireland, the mail coach passed through Lisburn daily, stopping to change horses at the Hertford Arms, now the site occupied by the Northern Bank.

The Armagh coach stopped at the King's Arms, also in Market Square, owned then by Mr. George Moore.

In 1905 the new drainage works were inaugurated.

The town is also the possessor of two weekly newspapers -- the "Lisburn Standard," which was first initiated in 1876 by W. Johnston succeeded by Mr. J. E. Reilly, and is now owned by Victor M'Murray. The "Lisburn Herald " was started some years later by the present proprietor, Robert M'Mullan.

Lisburn returned a member to the Imperial Parliament up to the time of the Redistribution Act; after this it became merged in the South Antrim Division. William Ellison Macartney, Esq., represented this division for many years, but on being appointed Deputy-Master of the Mint, at the end of 1902, he was obliged to resign his seat. He was succeeded by Charles Curtis Craig Esq., the present member.

Among the families who have contributed and are contributing still to the commercial prosperity of Lisburn are the Barbours, Richardsons, Stewarts, Coulsons, and their representatives. Amongst those intimately connected with Lisburn the names of Nicholson, Stewart, Hart, Taylor, Betty, Monro, Crommelin, Wallace, Thompson, Higginson, and many others stand out prominently, and to none more than those, and the men who pioneered and developed the industries of "Ye Towne of Lisnagarvey," do the well-known words of the poet more aptly apply --

     Lives of great men all remind us
          We can make our lives sublime,
     And departing leave behind us
         Footprints on the sands of time.

In 1914 the Urban Council purchased the Castle, built by Sir Richard Wallace in Castle Street in 1880, at a cost of £2,000, and established therein a Technical School. This understating has proved an unqualified success. First committee -- Thomas Sinclair, chairman; James Carson, vice-chairman; Harold Barbour, J. B. Campbell, Edward Donaghy, Fredk. Duncan, Robert Griffith, James A. Hanna, Wm. M'Ilroy, W. J. M'Murray, James M'Nally.


Magistrates -- Alan Bell, R.M.; G. H. Clarke, Roseville; J. Crossin, Lisburn; E. J. Charley, Seymour Hill, J. Doran, Dunmurry; Wm. M. Whitaker, K.C., Dublin; F. W. Capron, London; W. R. M'Call, Belfast; W. H. H. Lyons, Belfast; Felix O'Hagan, Belfast; Jas. M'Connell, Belfast; Robt. Griffith, Hugh G. Larmor, Belsize Road; J. Milne Barbour, D.L., Conway, Dunmurry; J. L. Rentoul, M.D.; William Ritchie, W. J. Frazer, Lisburn; Wm. M'Ilroy, Hilden Cottage; Edward Donaghy, jun.; W. J. M'Murray, E. V. Taylor, Thomas Sinclair, J. M'Gonnell.

Clerk of Petty Sessions -- T. J. English.

Urban District Council -- Messrs. Robt. Griffith, J.P.; Geo. H. Clarke, J.P.; W. J. M'Murray, J.P.; H. M. Barbour, James M'Nally, Alexander Patterson, Thomas Sinclair J.P.; George StGeorge, C. V. Bolton, Wm. Davis, J.P. (chairman); Jas. A. Hanna, James E. Pelan, Charles Scott, and John G. Ferguson.

Town Solicitor -- Wellington Young.
Town Surveyor -- James Shortt.
Town Clerk -- Thomas M. Wilson.
Medical Officer -- D. C. Campbell, M.D,
Manager, Gas Works -- A. S. Brook.
War Pensions Committee -- Jas. Carson, chairman.
Stationmaster -- John Allister.
Postmaster -- J. Shanks.
Technical School -- Cecil Webb, Principal.
Rate Collector -- R. M'Creight.

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 1 August 1919 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)